Cow death probe at farm part-run by State agency
Teagasc has been told lessons could be learned after a number of cows died on a farm it part-runs during Storm Emma.
An investigation has been launched to determine how the six calves and two cows died at the Co Kilkenny farm.
Labour's agriculture spokesperson Willie Penrose said lessons could be learned from the Teagasc Greenfield programme after cows were exposed to the elements last week with no shelter or cover on site.
Key stakeholders running the farm said a review of the impact of Storm Emma is on-going.
Animals there are living in roofless cubicles on a special concrete pad. This left cows and calves exposed last week despite the best efforts of staff and stakeholders on site. Suggestions that the farming practice is cruel have been dismissed.
The 'open greenfield' farm is managed with the technical support and under the supervision of Teagasc, the State's agricultural research and advisory body. The landowners, Glanbia and the 'Irish Farmers Journal' are also involved in the project on leased farmland. It aims to adopt key technologies, reducing labour requirements and maximising environmental and animal welfare best practice.
Last night Teagasc said the farm had an excellent animal welfare record since it was established in 2009. Cows were milked once per day last week and staff went to enormous efforts to protect the cows and battle snowdrifts.
"The performance of the Greenfield farm to date has always been critically analysed and a detailed analysis of the impact of Storm Emma and the associated snowstorm will be carried out. This will inform how best to prepare and react to such an event should it ever occur again.