Last week Monaghan County Council received a complaint about a dead calf dumped beside Annachree Lake (also known as Sreenty Lake) near Shantonagh. On investigation, a young Simmental cross calf was found dumped in long grass on the shore of the lake. The calf was dead for a number of days and its decaying carcase was covered in maggots. Dead animals can be a source of disease and contamination and are a potential risk to public and animal health, particularly where discharges from the carcase can contaminate water.
Within 10 metres of this dumped carcase, Corduff – Corracharra Group Water Scheme had erected a sign warning that 600 householders are supplied with drinking water from this lake and prohibiting the washing of cars, extraction of water with slurry tankers, and dumping of waste.
Farmers are obliged by law to have all dead livestock on their farm collected by registered dead animal collectors for transport to either an approved knackery or rendering plant. While the cost of collection can be significant, this is no excuse for the reckless and irresponsible dumping of dead animals, particularly at locations where there is a significant risk to public health.
This is just one of a number of complaints relating to the dumping of dead animals investigated by Monaghan County Council this Spring.
The dead animals found dumped include dogs, lambs, calves, adult sheep and cattle.
In one dumping incident at the end of March, just south of the border in Knockatallon, approximately 35 lambs, ranging from newborn to 1 month of age, and 2 adult sheep were dumped in twos and threes along the side of a quiet road for a distance of more than 1km. There was even a 1 ton size fertilizer bag of sheep fleeces dumped along with them!
Many of these dumping incidents occur close to the border with Northern Ireland.
The bodies of dead animals present a potentially serious threat to other animals and to humans. This has been made painfully evident to many Monaghan cattle farmers over the last 20 years, some of whom have suffered catastrophic losses from multiple cattle deaths due to botulism caused by the cattle coming into contact with dead poultry carcases.
Farmers must take responsibility for their livestock, both while they are alive and when they die, and must ensure that the bodies of dead animals are collected by registered dead animal collectors as quickly as possible.