No such thing as a 'quiet' bull -- HSA
Published 30/11/2010 | 05:00
The country's top farm safety inspector has slammed the notion of the quiet bull.
"There is no such thing as a quiet breed of bull," said Pat Griffin, senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
He was speaking at a Teagasc safety seminar at Grange, Co Meath, last week, where delegates were also told that purebred animals were more dangerous than crossbreds.
Livestock are responsible for the majority of farm injuries, but it is bulls which are the most lethal of all stock. Mr Griffin revealed data that showed that any breed has the potential to be a killer on the farm.
The figures showed that the most populous breed in the beef herd, Charolais, was also responsible for the greatest number of recent fatalities.
Mr Griffin said that when investigating fatal accidents, HSA inspectors often hear that a bull considered 'quiet' for years suddenly became 'angry' and attacked. The HSA inspector said that this is a horrendous event that farmers just have to be ready for. "Always have escape routes planned and have a vehicle, such as a 4X4 or a tractor, ready in case of an attack," he said.
The majority of the victims belonged to an older demographic, with over half of the victims aged 65 or older.
At the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Grange, four novel tests were used with both purebred and crossbred beef cattle related to 'animal flight', 'docility', 'fear' and a 'crush' test, where animals were restrained in a cattle crush.