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Minister Coveney Prioritises Farm Safety and Animal Welfare in Current Severe Weather

The severe weather of recent days has caused serious flooding in many areas of the country but particularly in Connaught, Munster and the midlands where some farmland has been seriously affected by the exceptionally high level of rainfall. Speaking about the effects of this flooding the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney stressed that first and foremost his concern is for the safety of farmers and their families. The Minister said that “farmers need to be extra vigilant and should avoid going into water logged/flooded farmland as there are hidden dangers”. He added that his Department is working closely with Teagasc to assess the situation on the ground in the worst affected areas and that agricultural advisors are available locally to give advice and support to farm families.

The Minister referred to the special arrangements that his Department has put in place to deal with animal welfare issues that might arise as a result of flooding. The main area of concern at the moment is the flooding of slurry tanks. In this regard the Minister said that in emergency cases farmers are being permitted to pump some water out of flooded tanks and that they should liaise with their local Teagasc advisers for advice on these emergency arrangements. The Department has also announced a relaxation of some rules around the movement of animals where the welfare or lives of animals is threatened.

In addition to the above flexibilities to address any issues concerning  animal welfare the Minister said that  “In line with previous severe weather incidents and insofar as farm inspections are concerned, my Department will take account of the damage caused by flooding and deal sensitively with such inspection cases”. Matters relating to damage to property (such as fences) or the adverse condition of land due to severe flooding or storm damage will be dealt with using force majeure provisions. 

Finally Minister Coveney reminded farmers that his Department’s Animal Welfare Helpline is available to take calls relating to animal welfare issues. The helpline is open daily from 9am to 17.45pm daily including at the weekend and can be contacted at: 

  • Call Save: 0761 064408
  • Phone: 01 6072379

 

Full details of the advice to farmers is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Website www.agriculture.gov.ie, from local Department Veterinary Offices and from Teagasc advisers.

 

 View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 224/2015 (pdf 545Kb) 

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  • In general, there is no restriction on the movement of cattle within the same holding, including onto parcels within the same holding.
  • The movement of animals that are ‘in test’ from herds which are not restricted due to TB can be effected relatively easily on the basis of a Compliance Certificate which can obtained from the DVO, the local mart, the herd PVP (if registered to do so) or printed out by the herdowner himself.
  • In the case of ’out of test’ animals or herds which are restricted due to TB, the movement of such animals or cattle out of these herds is prohibited except where they are going direct to slaughter.
  • Exceptions to the above rules can be made where the welfare or lives of animals is threatened. Every effort must be made to prevent, if possible, and if not to limit the exposure of such animals to other TB susceptible animals.
  • In the case of non-restricted herds, where the animals are at risk, the herdowner should move the animals to higher ground on his/her own farm if this is possible. If this is not possible and the herdowner is unable to get a compliance cert from the DVO or print one out himself/herself, the animals may be moved out of the holding.
  • In the case of TB restricted herds, where the animals are at risk, the herdowner should move the animals to higher ground on his/her own farm if this is possible. If this is not possible and the herdowner is unable to get a movement permit from the DVO the animals may be moved out of the holding. In these circumstances the herdowner should notify the DVO as soon as possible after movement.

 

Flooded Slurry Tanks 

In the event of flooding of slurry tanks the following emergency measures may be put in place:

  • In emergency cases farmers will be permitted to pump some water out of flooded tanks but only for animal welfare reasons. This concession will apply only in those areas that have been severely affected by flooding.
  • Tanks should not be agitated before pumping. Use a sludge pump if possible rather than a vacuum tanker. The suction pipe should be inserted almost to the bottom of the slurry tank so that solids are not removed.
  • Pump out no more than is necessary to alleviate the immediate animal welfare problem.
  • If water is already above the level of the central passageway or the apron, then there is no point in pumping at all because water will continue to flow into the tank. In these cases, animals will have to be removed from the sheds.
  • The water should not be discharged directly to a watercourse but onto the driest field available.

Date Released: 11 December 2015