The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) must initiate an investigation into rendering costs due to the current fallen animal collection dispute, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has said.

“The correct disposal of fallen animals is part of the Department of Agriculture’s remit so turning a blind eye to the fact that this is not currently happening is just not good enough,” Hugh Farrell, ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chair, said.

The comments come as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue called on the renderers and knackeries “to engage proactively with each other to resolve their differences”.

As the dispute continues, the minister said that knackeries can bring fallen animals to Northern Ireland for rendering. In cases where a farmer is unable to get a collector to remove a dead animal carcass, “burial on farm may be considered”.

This requires a burial license from DAFM which comes with “strict environmental conditions”.


“The problem is that none of this advice goes any way towards finding a long-term workable system for the collection and rendering of fallen animals.

“The rendering plants have increased their charges, and the knackeries are claiming they are unable to pay despite being in receipt of significant subvention from the department of agriculture,” Farrell said.

The ICSA chair said that Minister McConalogue needs to instruct the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) “to conduct a thorough investigation into rendering cost levels”

“A fully open and transparent report needs to happen to shine a light on exactly what is going on there,” he said.

Farrell also took exception to the advice given to farmers to apply for burial licences if they are unable to get dead animals removed from their farms.

“As it stands farmers have been left with no choice but to bury animals on-farm. The minister has said that burying on-farm will require a burial licence.

“This will degenerate into a bureaucratic nightmare, and we do not want a scenario where farmers are stressed out looking for permission from local department offices,” he said.

“I am calling on the department of agriculture to issue guidelines on best practice regarding on-farm burial.

“Looking for permission to bury an animal – when there is no alternative but to bury an animal – is a very roundabout way of doing things.

“Instead, farmers need guidelines on the correct approach to burying on-farm and a window to then inform the relevant district veterinary office (DVO),” Farrell added.

The ICSA chair said that while there is no resolution between the knackeries and the rendering plants “the priority must be facilitating farmers to bury on-farm in the timeliest manner”.

“However, it is also incumbent on the minister to set in motion a thorough examination of rendering costs if we want a fallen animal system that works without various stakeholders being held to ransom,” Farrell said.