CATTLE farmers are facing "a crisis situation" and animals are dying of malnutrition because of a lack of feed due to the unseasonal weather, according to a Cork East TD who has called on the Agriculture Minister to intervene.
Fine Gael TD Tom Barry this week revealed that he has written to Minister Simon Coveney to highlight the fact that the bad weather has seen farmers find themselves in a "crisis situation", where prolonged bad weather into the spring time means they can expect no grass growth until early May.
"One local co-op who I spoke to last week had their busiest week ever in their feed mill, surpassing any production that would have taken placed in normal winter months. This truly is a crisis situation of enormous proportions," said Deputy Barry.
"I am also familiar with a friend of mine who operates the Fallen Animal Scheme and they are so run off their feet with animals dying due to malnutrition and weakness, especially towards the western counties where the poorer land would be; because they simply haven't got the fodder and they can't afford to buy more.
"Vets are also indicating to me that cows in calf that have lost so much condition are also being put down within a month of calving due to severe loss of condition and non-viability towards calving," Deputy Barry said.
"Of course I understand that funds are scarce; but we are facing a terrible scenario here both personally on the farmers and in relation to animal welfare. I have asked for a helpline and any funding from national and EU sources which can be provided to assist farmers.
"I have also called on Minister Michael Noonan to expressly direct banks and agri-advisers within banks to be mindful of the situation that farmers find themselves in at the moment," he added.