Farm Ireland

Thursday 18 January 2018

Farmer finds his pedigree bull 'shot dead by hunters'

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

A Kilkenny beef farmer was dismayed after he discovered one of his pedigree bulls shot dead on his farm.

Christy Comerford was going about his daily feeding routine on his farm at Castlewarren, eight miles northeast of Kilkenny city, when he discovered the one-year-old pedigree Charolais bull motionless in the field.

The well-known breeder who has won many national titles with his Knockmahon Herd says the bull was killed instantly when he was shot through the eye.

He estimates that the bull, by the French sire Veracruz, was worth at least €3,000. He was to be sold in just four months' time. There were 15 other pedigree Charolais bulls present in the field that was adjacent to a public road at the time. "I was mad at first," said Mr Comerford. "But to be honest I'm glad they didn't hit the champion bull I had on the other side of the fence that night." He estimates that bull to be worth more than €30,000.

Local knackery operator John Stynes, who collected the bull, said that he has come across almost one shot farm animal per month recently. These include sheep, yearlings, and a cow. "She was shot in the stomach, but it wasn't noticed until she got peritonitis and died," said Mr Stynes. "It was only then that we noticed that she had a semi-healed wound on her side where she'd been shot. I often think it's just lads shooting anything they catch in the lamp at the end of the night out of badness."

Mr Comerford, who has never shot a gun in his life, thinks it was probably hunters out lamping foxes that shot his bull. "But I'm also suspicious that it might have been destined for the freezer," he said.

Mr Comerford's insurer, FBD, is refusing to cover the farmer for the loss of the animal. "They told me that if I had shot it myself by mistake they would be able to compensate me. But in this case they say the shooter's insurance company are responsible for the damage."

National director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), Des Crofton, said that his organisation fully covers any damage to livestock or property by its members. He says that the NARGC has had to deal with less than 10 cases of farm animals shot by its 28,000 members over the last year.

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However, he insisted that there was no reason for NARGC members not to own up to any accidents.

"We will always fully cover the costs involved and it doesn't affect the member's premium the following year," he said. "If they didn't own up, they would very quickly find themselves unwelcome visitors on farms all over the country."

Irish Independent