Friday 13 July 2012
A nice little earner
Two Cork farmers who lost cattle to botulism in 2010 received compensation for their losses in Cork Circuit Court.
The case was a settlement ruled in open court against both the poultry farmer and the farmer who spread the litter on his land.
In February and March 2010, chicken litter was spread on grassland adjoining beef farmer James Maye and dairy farmer Batt O'Connell from Rathcormac, Co Cork. Maye lost 16 beef animals and O'Connell lost seven dairy cows.
Evidence was heard that the poultry litter was stored in the open, not covered, spread on grassland and wasn't ploughed in. It was also said that the litter was spread in windy conditions.
Justin McCarthy, a solicitor with Anthony Carroll & Co in Fermoy, Co Cork, said that there is an "inextricable link between botulism in bovines and the spreading of chicken litter. This is the first case where that link has been proven in court".
The farmers also secured undertakings that there would be no further spreading of poultry litter on the adjoining lands.
The incidence of botulism in Ireland remains unknown as it is difficult to prove that the animals died of the disease and there is no test for the disease in Ireland.
In this case, the farmer's vet Paul Redmond diagnosed botulism and proved to the court that it was the cause of the deaths. A vet from the Department also testified.
Justin McCarthy stated that the two farmers received "compensation for bad practice" and pointed out that most poultry farmers have no problems spreading litter when it is done properly.
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