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Farmer is left shocked by sudden death of eight cows

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Farmer Harry Kromer yesterday said he was shocked by the mysterious deaths of eight cows on his Devonshire farm in just three days.“The heat of the compost is used to destroy the contagions in a carcass,” she said.

On Thursday, Government announced that it had put a quarantine in effect at Belhaven farm as it seeks an explanation for the deaths.

“Nothing like this has ever happened with us before. It all happened pretty quick. We got hold of the SPCA and Agriculture and Fisheries as soon as we realised something was wrong.

“We have done everything we possibly can do. Now it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing what the results are,” said Mr Kromer.

He said the first cow was found dead on Monday. Over the following days, seven more cows died, all around one-year-old.

None of the cows have ever been milked, and none of the animals were scheduled for slaughter.

Since then, he said samples have been taken from everything at the farm, including the animal’s food and tissue, and sent away by Government to be tested.

While there are still many questions to be answered, Mr Kromer said that when he visited the farm yesterday morning no additional cows had died.

“Hopefully it’s all over now,” he said.

Yesterday, staff from the Department of Environmental Protection continued to limit entry to the farm as a quarantine continued.

No time frame was given for when results of tests will be complete, but a Ministry spokeswoman said that the carcasses of the deceased animals were being destroyed through a composting process.

She said the Island’s farmers were on alert, and watching carefully over what comes onto their premises and that the Ministry was remaining in close contact with the Island’s dairy farmers.

The spokeswoman also advised the public against “sightseeing” on the farms, saying: “There is nothing to be gained by members of the public wandering over the grounds, which I remind you, are private property.

“Additionally, there are active electric fences. Cows are curious animals, but like familiar items and familiar people. The presence of strangers with no purpose is not beneficial.”

OBA Deputy Leader and Dunkley’s Dairy owner, Michael Dunkley yesterday said he wanted to assure the public that the Island’s milk supply was safe, saying that all the milk collected was tested every day.

“We know if there are challenges before we put it in the tank,” he said. “This procedure happens every day, 365 days a year.”

Mr Dunkley also said he felt confident that whatever caused the deaths will not spread to other farms.

“Obviously nobody likes to see an animal pass away in unknown circumstances, but I do believe this is contained,” he said.

Mystery deaths: Belhaven farm, in Devonshire, where eight cows have died over a period of three days.
Mystery deaths: Belhaven farm, in Devonshire, where eight cows have died over a period of three days.
Mystery deaths: Belhaven farm, in Devonshire, where eight cows have died over a period of three days.
Mystery deaths: Belhaven farm, in Devonshire, where eight cows have died over a period of three days.

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Published November 19, 2011 at 7:40 am (Updated November 19, 2011 at 7:39 am)

Farmer is left shocked by sudden death of eight cows

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