Farmer awarded damages of almost €16,000 after being sold infertile bull

Stock image.
Stock image.

Gearoid Keegan

A farmer was awarded nearly €16,000 in damages when a court ruled he had been sold an infertile bull.

Judge Karen Fergus said on the balance of probability the pedigree Limousin, Finboy Gino, was not fit for purpose when Co Offaly bull breeder Tom Harney sold him to Mountbellew suckler farmer Micheal Ryan nearly six years ago. Tullamore Circuit Civil Court heard last week that Mr Ryan bought the bull from Mr Harney, a Moneygall-based farmer, breeder and schoolteacher, on June 6, 2013.

He paid €2,750 for the animal, minus €50 "luck money", on the understanding he was capable of breeding, and brought him to his farm at Waterloo, Menlough, where he had 22 cows. When he had the herd scanned the following November none of the cows was in calf and a fertility tester, John McCabe, took semen samples on January 11, 2014, and concluded the bull was unsuitable for breeding.

Mr Ryan's vet, Tom Glynn, gave evidence that while he had not examined the animal, a bull's fertility should return even if it was lost for a period because of an infection, high temperature or injury.

The court also heard the bull had been put on the market by Mr Harney at a Limousin sale in Roscrea Mart in May 2013, but was withdrawn when it did not reach its €3,000 reserve.

It had been examined by Mr Harney's vet, Eamon O'Connell, at the mart, but its fertility was not tested because a test wasn't mandatory.

The court heard Finboy Gino had previously sired two calves. One died and a DNA test proved the bull was the sire of the other, born in November 2013.

Mr O'Connell again examined the bull at Mr Ryan's farm on March 8, 2014, and a fertility test showed his semen to be satisfactory, a finding which surprised Mr McCabe.

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In a report dated September 2, 2016, Mr O'Connell said Finboy Gino would not be able to mate because of an injury.

The bull had been sent for slaughter on February 1, 2016.

The judge said she was satisfied there was a problem with the bull from the time he arrived on the plaintiff's farm and the fact he had previously put a cow in calf was not proof he was fertile at the time of sale.

Irish Independent