Cattle deaths in Cork may be linked to lead in collars

Department investigation into deaths of seven animals focuses on feeding system collars

The department said that it had consulted with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and was satisfied that there was no risk to consumers arising from the deaths of the cattle on the dairy farm. File photograph: Frank Miller

The department said that it had consulted with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and was satisfied that there was no risk to consumers arising from the deaths of the cattle on the dairy farm. File photograph: Frank Miller

 

A Department of Agriculture investigation into the deaths of seven cattle from lead poisoning on a farm in Co Cork is focusing on lead weights used in electronic feeding system collars ending up in their feed stuffs.

The seven animals, who died on the farm in Grenagh in mid-Cork over the past month, were all wearing electronic collars used to activate and open a feeding system and it is believed that the collars degraded and the lead weights fell into the troughs and contaminated the feed.

The department said in a statement that “investigations currently under way are focused on degrading lead weights on collars worn by the animals. There is no evidence of any other source of contamination.”

According to the department, officials have identified a small number of farms where similar type collars with lead weights are being used and these weights have been removed even though the officials found no evidence of lead poisoning on these farms.

The department said that it had consulted with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and was satisfied that there was no risk to consumers arising from the deaths of the cattle on the dairy farm.

However, as a precautionary measure until the investigation is completed, “the movement of animals from the herd is restricted and product from the farm is prohibited from entering the food chain.”

The department said the Food Safety Authority of Ireland had performed a risk assessment on product from the farm which entered the food chain prior to the restriction and had determined that there was no risk to the consumer.

Meanwhile, Dairygold also issued a statement about what it described as “a non-contagious animal health issue on the farm of one of its suppliers and as a precautionary measure, it had suspended milk collections from the farm pending the investigation.