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New Guidelines for Acutely Injured Livestock On Farm

18 September 2009
Irish Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

EU - The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, today officially launched a new booklet produced by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) entitled 'Animal Welfare Guidelines for Managing Acutely Injured Livestock on Farm'.

The booklet sets out a procedure for managing an injured animal on farm including live transport to a slaughterhouse or transport following emergency slaughter on farm.

The Minister said that "the guidelines set out very comprehensively a method for managing injured livestock which not only protects the welfare of the animal but also safeguards consumer health by providing very clear protocols to be followed by the farmer, his/her private veterinary practitioner and the slaughter plant in managing the injured animal".

Stakeholders outside of FAWAC involved with veterinary public health issues have also been consulted in drafting the guidelines and the Minister went on to say that "the procedure now in place will support farmers and their private veterinary practitioners in arriving at an informed decision on how best to deal with an injured animal". In establishing this protocol, which is provided for in European hygiene legislation and which specifically applies to healthy animals that have suffered some form of accident on farm, the Minister said that "it provides an opportunity for farmers to achieve an economic benefit from some animals which heretofore would have had to be disposed of as fallen stock".

Success of the protocol will depend on cooperation between the farmer and particularly the slaughterhouse establishment. The Minister said there are a number of practical issues to be adhered to in its operation. It will be the responsibility of the owner of the animal to engage a veterinary practitioner to carry out the necessary ante-mortem examination of the animal and to determine the appropriate course of action. Additionally the farmer must make prior arrangements with a slaughterhouse within a reasonable distance to accept an animal and it is an absolute imperative that the slaughter establishment be alerted in advance to ascertain if it can accept the animal and that all the necessary paperwork be fully completed and accompanies the animal. National legislative changes have been put in place to give effect to the protocol, which provides that any meat derived from an animal slaughtered under the protocol bear a special diamond shaped mark, containing details of the slaughter establishment.

Minister Smith thanked the chairman of FAWAC, Professor Patrick Fottrell, and the members of the Council, particularly the members of the Education Sub-Group who include representatives from Veterinary Ireland, the ISPCA, the IFA together with Department officials for their work in producing the booklet. The Minister also expressed his appreciation of the ongoing and valuable work being done by the Council and for the advice provided in the domain of animal welfare.

Further Reading

- You can view the booklet by clicking here.

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