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New group fly flag for pedigree cattle at home and abroad

By Chris McCullough

A new cattle group has been set up in to highlight the quality of pedigree dairy and beef animals in Northern Ireland.

Christened the Pedigree Cattle Trust, the group contains representatives from beef and dairy clubs, and hopes collectively to address TB in herds as well as other welfare issues.  Launched at the Balmoral Show, the organisation aims to become a unified voice for all pedigree breeders in Northern Ireland.

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With 2,500 pedigree herds in the region, speaking for every owner may be a challenge, so the club has called on all pedigree breeders to contact it and voice any opinion or highlight areas of concern.

Brian Walker, from the Pedigree Cattle Trust, said: "The superior quality of the local cattle industry has long been recognised, but we believe it is important we join together to do all we can to promote high-quality beef and dairy both at home and across the world. As pedigree breeders, we are dedicated to improving the quality, genetics and marketability of our animals.

"Not only do we depend on them for our livelihood, but the standard of our local herds is also vital to the interests of the processors, retailers and ultimately the consumers.

"Collectively, there are more than 2,500 local pedigree herds and we need to ensure we have a unified and powerful voice. This is becoming especially important as we face a number of upcoming challenges, including Brexit and any potential changes to the trading environment in the EU.

"We also want to work closely with government agencies regarding the control, eradication and prevention of cattle disease, animal welfare, genomics and animal identification issues, all of which have a direct impact on the future of the industry."

The body is planning for future meetings and is urging pedigree beef and dairy farmers to contact it with their views and opinions.

"To be able to make a difference and fairly represent the local industry, we need a comprehensive overview of what is important to pedigree cattle farmers here," Mr Walker said.

"We would value hearing about any issues farmers would like addressed by the Pedigree Cattle Trust going forward."

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