Farming practices under scrutiny after dead cow is found in river

February 8, 2016

The discovery of a dead cow in the Creggan River recently has prompted a local resident to voice anger and concern over what he says is the disgraceful practice of the disposal of dead animals by some unscrupulous farmers.

Last Sunday, while out walking his dog through Creggan Lawns, the man made the grim discovery approximately 60metres from Creggan Bridge, an area that is frequently used by walkers and families.  The carcass of the animal, which he thinks may have been a Friesian heifer, had become wedged at a point in the river.  He believes the animal was not dumped at this location but may have been carried from further upstream with the recent heavy rain and flooding.

It is concern over the potential for contamination and disease that has prompted the man to speak out and he questions what other underhand practices some farmers may be involved in that are not quite as apparent.

“As all these animals are allegedly registered with the Department of Agriculture, how can they disappear off the register or be replaced with an imposter?” he asks.

Stating that he has contacted the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) to report the incident, he called for tighter controls to be introduced.

“The sooner a DNA Register is introduced, the better because how can we trust these farmers with the milk or meat they produce when they have this little regard for a basic life source, i.e. water?  What would they bury in their ground and leave to be manifested by disease or deformities in future generations?”

When contacted by The Examiner, a spokesperson for DARD stated that the issue is not the remit of its Rivers Agency department unless the animal is blocking the flow of the water and advised contacting the local Council with whom the responsibility lies for its removal and disposal.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council confirmed that the matter had been referred to its Environmental Health office and that steps are being taken to safely remove the animal.

“The Enforcement officers in the Newry Environmental Health Office are responsible for the investigation and organisation of the removal of dead animals and there has been a referral made to them regarding a dead cow in the area and they will be dealing with the safe removal of this,” a spokesperson said.