IFA offers some advice to reduce the risk of livestock theft.
IFA has been notified of several thefts of livestock in recent weeks; in one particular incident, 130 sheep were taken from a hillside farm in the Waterford / Tipperary area. In a separate incident, a farmer found his cattle in a pen ready to be taken, but was lucky enough to interrupt the thieves’ plan.
The theft of livestock is not an opportunist event and can only be considered organised criminality. In order to steal livestock, there must be motive, means and opportunity; these few factors determine what will take place.
The motive and means are very clear in these cases, but farmers can control opportunity. Taking a few of these following points into consideration will reduce your risk of becoming a victim of such a terrible crime.
- Carry out regular physical counts of the animals – if you are unable to do this perhaps ask for help with this from a trusted person
- Examine the location of handling areas for your animals – a handling area should only have one-way access to and from it. Try in as far as possible to keep this away from a roadside. If you can place a camera in the main area where livestock are handled or accessed it can work very well.
- Watch out for suspicious activity; anything out of the ordinary should be investigated and reported to An Garda Siochana immediately.
- Use your local text alerts or crime prevention initiatives and make sure to keep yourself informed.
- Consider the access route to your animals; think to yourself, how would I access the cattle if I was a thief?
These suggestions are only a few simple ways by which farmers can try to protect themselves from thieves. Having to worry about the security of your livestock is not what farmers need after a long hard year and we hope that by highlighting this topic, farmers will become more aware and look out for suspicious activity.
IFA has developed a security checklist to help farmers to assess how secure their home and farm are and to consider ways to improve security.