DARD begins removal of animal carcasses

Published Tuesday, 02 April 2013
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The removal of animal carcasses from areas worst affected by the Spring blizzard began on Tuesday.

DARD begins removal of animal carcasses
Sheep in the snow in the hills above Glenarm in Co Antrim. (© Presseye)

Video warning: The report contains some distressing images.

Carcasses will be collected by firms approved by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) until Monday 15 April.

The collection deadline may be extended depending on the speed of the thaw, the department has advised.

Counties Antrim and Down were worst affected with snow drifts of up to 18ft in some areas after gale force winds and heavy snow fell almost two weeks ago.

Sam Abbott was in Castlewellan in Co Down working to collect animals that had perished in the freezing conditions.

He said it was heartbreaking to see so many dead lambs and ewes.

"The farmers in the mountains have got a raw deal," he said.

"Today has been a very hectic day for the first day the collection, the phone hasn't stopped ringing today, (we've) been inundated and we're just trying our best to get the stock off the mountain for the farmers.

"It's out of sight, out of mind."

Terry White is a farmer in the area who lost around 40 lambs in the adverse weather.

"We couldn't get near our hill sheep for four days because the road was blocked, we had trouble getting them home, whenever we got to the mountain, the ewes had lambed early, walked off and left their lambs, it was just a disaster," he explained.

He said his fields had only thawed slightly, and were still covered in snow over a week after the blizzards hit.

It's not easy, when you see your year's work going away in a lorry when it should be going to a meat plant or market, it's soul-destroying.

Terry White, Co Down farmer

Farmers in areas eligible for the collection service are to contact the Rendering Plants 'Linergy Dungannon' on 028 8775 0050 or 'Foyle Proteins' on 028 7186 1120 to arrange removal of the carcasses.

At present, the following postcode areas are eligible for collection - BT25, BT31, BT33, BT34, BT35, BT36, BT40, BT43, BT44, BT54. However, the list is subject to change and farmers should check DARD's website.

"Farmers should NOT contact DARD to arrange collection of fallen stock," a statement from the department said.

"Farmers should move fallen stock to a point on the farm which has hard standing (concrete or tarmac) and which the collecting vehicle will be able to access (central yard, end of farm lane, etc)," the department advised.

A number of carcasses may be moved to this point, and all carcasses must be covered with a tarpaulin or similar so that it is not possible for dogs / foxes / birds to access them until they are collected, the statement continued.

Carcasses must be held securely in this way until removal.

"DARD will verify the losses of animals by supervising collections of animals. Animals collected without verification by DARD staff will not be eligible," the statement continued.

Meanwhile, the public is being advised not to approach or touch the dead animals.

"Do not allow other animals (ie pet dogs) to approach or touch the dead animals," it was also advised.

Anyone who finds a dead animal should contact the DARD helpline on 0300 200 7852 with details of the dead animal - the species, number of animals and location.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
9 Comments
The living legend in Ballymena wrote (598 days ago):
Another thing that should be addressed- why did the farmers recieve fines and points on there license for minor offences when they were out clearing roads for nie to restore power to homes and aid various other emergency services including the psni??
Frosty in Here wrote (598 days ago):
@ Iseult in NI, fine sentiments but am afraid until we as a species learn to treat one another with equality, dignity and respect and understand that others have needs too, we're a long way from that future when we afford the same to our fellow creatures. No doubt the biggest concern for the majority is if they'll still be able to get a kebab on Saturday night.
The living legend in Ballymena wrote (599 days ago):
A few of you seem to think that the sheep were neglected. And am guessing you are the people that have NO idea what it takes to run a farm. The sheep you see in the mountains are able to stay out all year round no one knew how bad the snow was going to be. As for those of you think that sheep going to slaughter is not right i ask this do you give any thought to the welfare of the sheep when it sits in front of you on your plate? As for the others complaining about the taxpayer paying the clean up bare in mind it was taxpayers footed the clean up costs when your houses were flooded a few years ago so i askyou are the farmers (taxpayers) not entittled to the same?
Laura in Newry wrote (599 days ago):
People that keep on and on about the animals not being brought in when they were warned about the snow are tiresome!! Yes farmers knew snow was coming but no one anticipated the amount that came. No one knew 16 - 18 foot drifts were on there way.Sheep and lambs can survive in snow no problem but not in the snow that came!!! Stop blaming the farmer!! We are a farming family, 400 sheep and lambs. Our sheep on the low lands died in snow. So taking them down from the hills made no difference!
Realistic in N.i wrote (600 days ago):
This is a joke the farmers where warned about snow the day before and sholud have sorted out safety and security for their animals. Now the taxpayer pays for the clean up and people feel sad for the farmers. They could have heeded the warning and saved all the animals.
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