Over 4,000 Clare calves die under six months old

This article is from page 35 of the 2009-12-29 edition of The Clare People. OCR mistakes are to be expected so download the original SWF or the rendered page 35 JPG

MORE than 4,000 calves born on farms in Clare die before they reach six weeks of age each year, accord- ing to official figures from the De- or Danese lmelmvatauUUIRUI Ros

The department’s Animal Identifi- cation and Movement (AIM) system report for 2008 reveals that, nation- ally, 70,000 calves died between birth and six weeks. Based on these national figures, a total of 4,100 calves died on the 5,200 suckler and dairy farms in Clare – while a further 2,00 calves were stillborn.

According to veterinary special- ist, Maureen Prendergast, scour ac- counts for well over half of all calf deaths in Clare. Extreme cases of the disease can result in the death of up to 30 per cent of calves in a herd.

“However, on the majority of farms, calf deaths represent only a small proportion of the costs of a scour outbreak. The biggest costs are treat- ment, additional labour and reduced animal performance,’ she said.

Prendergast, who is veterinary ad- viser with Intervet Schering-Plough, explained that scour is the symptom of a disease caused by bacteria and WAUMEN oe

“Bacterial infection can hit the calf within a couple of hours after birth. The high risk period for viral infec- tion is five to 1O days after birth,” she Sr nLGe

“Vaccinating the cow anytime between three and 12 weeks prior to calving is proven to provide the antibodies in the cow’s colostrum, which will protect the new-born calf. Farmers should consult their vet to discuss the best vaccination strategy for their herds.”

Meanwhile, the ICSA Connaught Ulster vice president John Barron has expressed alarm at proposed changes to the TB regime arising from the need to facilitate the slaughter of cattle that are over 12 months since

their last TB test.

“The new proposals to permit the slaughter of animals that are be- tween 12-18 months since their last TB test is something we have been

looking for.

“However, at a meeting with de- partment officials, it has emerged that the proposed change is to be accompanied by a whole raft of new

bureaucracy,’ he said.

“This includes complex assess- ments which categorise herds into those with less than 20 per cent ani- mals out of test and more than 20 per

cent animals out of test.

“There are severe penalties for any animal inadvertently sent for slaughter over 18 months since its last test.”

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