Farmers need to be aware of the illegality of using electrical cattle immobilisers, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has stated in a caution issued this morning to farmers in Northern Ireland.

Use of such devices is in contravention of the law, DARD stressed.

“The reputation of welfare standards in farmed animals in Northern Ireland is of the utmost importance to the agriculture economy. This must be protected by adherence to the current legislation.

“Anyone found to have used electro-immobilisation as a method of restraining animals risks enforcement action, including prosecution and a possibility of penalties being applied to their direct agricultural support payments, including their single farm payments.”

DARD also said that if farmers do have queries that the first port of call is the local DARD office and ask to speak to a veterinary officer.