Watch: farmer tells survivor story after cow attack at calving
The HSA has published a video detailing a near escape by farmer Brendan McLaughlin after he was attacked by a cow at calving.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a video ahead of the main calving season to remind farmers of the dangers at calving time.

In the video, farmer Brendan McLaughlin speaks about the horrific leg injuries he suffered after a cow attacked him.

Recounting the attack Brendan said: “I’m lucky to be alive, very lucky to be alive.

Attack

“I sensed there’s something wrong here. I ran for it as hard as I could go. She came charging after me and I could just see straight ahead of me. I dashed through a feeding gate.

“She caught my leg and she hit the ankle with the butt of her head and she wouldn’t let go, she kept screwing her head into the bars. I kicked her with my other foot on the nose.

“I pulled myself back to the wall and then I nearly passed out.”

As a result of the attack Brendan had two operations on his leg with two surgeries at two different times. He now has plates and screws in his leg and attends physio every week and said it was unbelievable what he had been through.

“You never trust an animal at calving, never do.”

Prevention

Looking back on the attack Brendan said he should never have taken the cow out of the pen and that she should have been in a crush gate. He said while other farmers might think “that will never happen to me”, there is always the possibility there is a day it will happen.

At calving, the HSA advises to always maintain a physical barrier with the cow and to plan an escape route in advance of any cattle handling.

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AIB to meet IFA next week on loan sales
Following on from its protest at the AIB AGM this week, the IFA is to meet with senior AIB staff on loans.

An IFA delegation will meet with senior staff at AIB on Friday week, over AIB’s decision to sell off over 100 farm loans to Everyday Finance earlier this month, an affiliate of so-called vulture fund Cerberus.

The meeting comes following the protest held by the IFA outside AIB’s AGM in Ballsbridge on Wednesday over the loan sales.

An IFA spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal that it has suspended its campaign plans to hold protests outside AIB branches around the country pending the outcome of next Friday’s meeting.

“Pending the outcome of the meeting, we are suspending the campaign. We will take a decision on it then,” the spokesperson said.

‘Wrong’

Speaking at the protest on Wednesday, the IFA farm business chair Martin Stapleton said: “It is wrong that AIB would sell these loans to a vulture fund, that is not interested in resolving issues by entering into long-term arrangements with farmers.”

Irish taxpayers retain a 71% stake in AIB

"This gave false hope to farmers who are under serious pressure.

“Irish taxpayers retain a 71% stake in AIB. We bailed out this bank when it was on its knees, but there is no such mechanism is place for people who are genuinely doing their best to meet their repayments,” he said.

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Farming takes mental and physical toll - McGuinness
Mairead McGuinness MEP for midlands-northwest gave the opening address at today’s Embrace Farm conference.

Farming is a "dangerous occupation" with a high level of farm accidents resulting in death or injury.

This was the view expressed by MEP Mairead McGuinness in her opening address at the Embrace Farm’s 'Resilient Farmer' Conference at the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise on 25 April.

"Farms are also lonely places where increasingly farmers work alone and neighbours work off-farm,” she said.

“While we can count fatalities, we do not count pressures on farmers’ mental health and wellbeing, but we know from experience that this is an issue."

Sources of pressure

Perhaps there is also pressure on passing the farm on and sadness and a hurt when a child decides not to take on the family farm.”

“Sometimes it’s the accumulation of issues - tiredness after lambing or calving, leading to inability to sleep coupled with fears for the future - together these can push people over the edge,” she said.

The MEP also warned that rapid expansion in the dairy sector with farmers increasing cow numbers brings its own inevitable pressures. Labour shortages are very real and some dairy farmers cannot cope with large numbers of cows calving on their own.

She also cautioned against the tensions between farmers in different sectors and regions which could drive a once united community apart.

McGuinness made a call on families and neighbours to watch out for symptoms of persistent stress and support those affected.

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EAT-Lancet Report 'should be ignored' – ICSA
Eddie Punch from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association says that the EAT Lancet report is "misleading".

General secretary of the ICSA Eddie Punch said that the EAT-Lancet Report is “misleading” and “should be ignored by Irish people”.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today Show with Miriam O'Callaghan this Thursday ahead of the Irish launch of the report, Punch reasoned that “in Ireland we have a very sustainable system”.

He said that our efficient grass growth produces sustainable grass-fed beef, dairy and sheepmeat products, and that reports like EAT-Lancet are “shaming meat consumption when it shouldn’t and in turn undermining the livelihoods of people in rural Ireland”.

Food production

The report is criticised for focusing mainly on food production as a cause to climate change with Punch giving the view that reducing the amounts of food wasted would be a considerable measure to tackling climate change.

“Up to one third of food is wasted, and if we eliminated this waste, we would cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 8%, to start with.”

The EAT-Lancet Commission produced a report whereby they looked at healthy diets and food production systems with the aim of setting out targets and framework for governments and organisations to follow to produce and consume food in a sustainable manner.

Prof Jessica Fanzo of Johns Hopkins University later presented the report at University College Cork.

Read an interview with Prof Fanzo in next week's Irish Farmers Journal.

One of the most controversial findings of this report is the recommendation that meat consumption should be reduced by 90% to avert climate change.

Vegan products

Eddie was concerned with the amount of resources being pumped into “fake meat” products, with vegan movements promoting them as good for the environment.

“A vegan burger is supposedly way more environmentally friendly than beef.

"But vegan burgers have 23 plant-based ingredients, flown all the way over from the US, where there is huge GMO and pesticide use. How mad is that to claim that they are environmentally friendly when compared to grass fed Irish beef?” he questioned.

Also speaking at the launch of the report, Dean of Cork University Business School Prof Thia Hennessy highlighted the €2m returned to the local economy for every €1m worth of Irish suckler beef produced and warned of difficult choices ahead if we are to meet our climate targets.

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