A group of researchers from UCD has produced a video detailing 1.3 million movement events of cattle in Ireland.

Based on data from the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) database in 2016, the study aims to highlight the number of high-risk movements that take place every year.

A total of 6.7 million individual cattle moved either from farm to mart, mart to farm, farm to farm or farm to slaughter.

The researchers categorised movements where animals ended up on a farm as being high-risk, while farm to slaughter or export was low-risk.

In the video, high risk is shown as red, while low risk is shown as blue.


High-risk movements accounted for 78% (1.02m) of all movements. Of those, 37% were from farm to mart, 38% were from mart to farm and 25% were direct herd to herd.

In total, the movement journeys taken by vehicles to transport cattle to marts, new herds and factories covered a distance of 46 million kilometres. This is the same distance as travelling to the moon and back 15 times.

High-risk events showed seasonal peaks in spring and autumn, typically around weanling sales, with lows in January, July and December.

In contrast, low-risk events showed little seasonality.

Saturday was recorded as one of the busiest days for high-risk movements, while there was just 800 low-risk movements on Saturdays or Sundays.

A screenshot of the video showing cattle movement events in Ireland on Friday 12 August. High risk movements are in red while blue lines represent low risk movements. \ CVERA UCD

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