Probe into poultry link to botulism - Up to 30 cattle dead in suspected cases
The use of poultry litter on farms in Meath and Kildare is being checked to establish whether the correct procedures were followed when transporting and spreading the product.
Three cases of suspected botulism have been reported in Meath and Kildare. On one farm, 20 beef animals, worth close to €30,000, died within a period of hours. It is understood that up to 10 animals died in the other suspected cases.
Speaking in the Dáil last week, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said that poultry litter containing "residual poultry carcases" must be disposed of in an incineration plant approved by the Department of Agriculture or the EPA, or in an approved rendering plant.
He also stressed that only hauliers who are registered with the Department of Agriculture are permitted to transport poultry litter.
"The material must be transported in covered, leak-proof containers or vehicles which are maintained in a clean condition with signage stating 'Category 2 Material - Manure'," said Minister Creed .
He was replying to Deputy Timmy Dooley, who requested clarification on the disposal measures, transport regulations, and compliance requirements for those disposing of, or using, poultry litter.
Minister Creed added that "enforcement action", including the issuing of a compliance notice requiring a particular action and also the use of criminal sanctions, is provided for within the EU regulations for poultry litter.
Botulism is one of the world's deadliest toxins. Sniffing as little as 13 billionths of a gram of the toxin can be lethal. It is fatal within hours once ingested by an animal.