Pics: Loading 1,900 bulls bound for Libya in Co. Cork

On Wednesday morning, July 29, Curzon Livestock – the Cork-based exporting firm – loaded approximately 1,900 bulls on a boat bound for Libya.

The consignment of bulls consisted of both continental and Friesian types. The beef-bred bulls weighed 450-600kg, while the Friesians weighed approximately 200-400kg.

The boat – the Sarah M – has since departed Cork City Port bound for the Libyan Port of Misurata based in the northwestern part of the country.

Arriving at the Irish port, the bulls travelled in specialised, Department of Agriculture-approved livestock-carrying trucks from two locations.

Firstly, after being inspected and cleared by officials from the department, a consignment left an assembly yard in Co. Limerick, while additional – department-cleared – fleets travelled from Fermoy Mart, in Co. Cork, with the bulls on board.

Once the hauliers arrived at the port, they queued up to unload into a specially-designed holding pen – equipped with high sides – and a loading chute. As one truck pulled out, another pulled in and the operation ran seamlessly from one trailer to the next.

All of the unloading is supervised by the Department of Agriculture, who view proceedings from a curtain-sided trailer which protects them from the elements – which in typical Irish summer fashion consisted of rain.

These officials check the health and welfare of the animals as they move from the pen up the chute and into the boat.

Once the bulls are aboard the livestock-carrying vessel, they are penned – in sawdust-bedded pens – in there original groups to allow them to settle easily and comfortably.

Throughout the journey, the bulls will be fed hay which was loaded onto the vessel on Tuesday. Every pen is equipped with a water drinker and a crew of operatives feed and inspect the animals throughout their eight or nine-day journey to Libya.

As part of the health certificate agreed upon by the Irish and Libyan authorities, the export certificate states that bulls must be under-30 months-of-age and be disease free – to name a few requirements.

All-in-all, the entire operation lasted a number of hours. Both the loading and unloading – and the handling – of the bulls was carried out to a high animal health and welfare standard.

According to Bord Bia, some 7,500 bulls had been shipped to Libya prior to this consignment. This boatload brings the total number to approximately 9,400 head.