The Ulster Farmers’ Union has met with the DARD Chief Veterinary Officer to discuss matters relating to the transport of livestock to abattoirs.
Over the last number of months UFU members have highlighted concerns about an over-zealous approach being taken by some of the DARD vets currently assessing the welfare of animals at Northern Ireland meat plants.
At the meeting the UFU argued that while the vast majority of DARD vets in the meat plants were able to demonstrate a common sense approach to the welfare of animals transported for slaughter as well as understand practical realities on farm, there were a minority of vets that were making life difficult for farmers with their over-zealous approach to certain circumstances.
The UFU argued that this inconsistency is making it difficult for farmers to assess when an animal is fit for transport to slaughter.
Further to this, where cases were being processed against farmers, the UFU argued that the system currently in place unfairly favours DARD over a farmer and that a greater degree of transparency and fairness is required in order to improve the process.
If anyone has any uncertainties of whether an animal is fit to transport, the UFU would encourage you to speak to your private vet first.
Effective communication between a private vet and the DARD vet in the meat plant should ensure cover is in place for any eventuality.