Cow kill passes 3,000 for first time

Weekly cattle slaughterings in NI continue to set records, with 3,158 cows killed last week, the first time the total has crossed 3,000 head.

With prime slaughterings also continuing to run at over 8,000 head, it left total cattle slaughtered at 11,715, which is also a record high for NI.

The slaughter data, recorded by DAERA, date back to 2001.

Livestock antibiotic use at record low

Sales of antibiotics for use in livestock have hit a record low in the UK, official figures from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate indicate. In 2021, antibiotic usage stood at 28.3 mg/kg, which is down 6% on the year previous and is 55% lower than 2014 levels. Sales of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics were down 18% year on year and now account for just 0.4% of total veterinary antibiotic sales.

No housing order for NI poultry yet

A compulsory housing order for poultry in NI has not yet been announced by DAERA, although the requirement is in place for England and the Republic of Ireland.

Separate housing orders came into effect in England and the Republic of Ireland on Monday (7 November) to help prevent the spread of avian influenza. Compulsory housing of poultry is not required in NI, Scotland, or Wales at present, although a UK-wide bird flu prevention zone makes stringent biosecurity a legal requirement.

Sinn Féin vows to bring back ANC

The restoration of the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payment in NI remains a priority for Sinn Féin, West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer told the party’s Ard Fheis last Saturday.

Under the ANC scheme, which closed in 2017, payments were made to around 8,800 NI farmers in severely disadvantaged areas.

“It is my intention, on behalf of Sinn Féin, to restore the ANC payment to farmers in the north when the institutions are up and running,” McAleer said during his address at the event in Dublin.

Pilgrim’s to close English pork factories

Meat processor Pilgrim’s UK will roll out a phased closure of two of its pork factories in Leicestershire and Suffolk.

Almost 650 jobs are at risk between the plants in Coalville and St Edmunds, and a third site at Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester is set to move to a four-day week.

Pilgrim’s UK said “difficult market conditions” within the pig sector were to blame for the closures.