Although such losses remain relatively rare, the costs are total and animals dying or suffering from disease have no way out.
And FSS has launched its 2022 campaign to support manufacturers and encourage them to actively eliminate potential sources of poisoning, building on the success of last year’s activities.
Stuart McAdam, head of incidents at the FSS, said lead poisoning can be devastating and put consumers at risk.
“Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause slow or stunted growth, blindness, infertility, birth defects and death.
“Not only is the impact on livestock health alarming, but there are also financial implications such as veterinary fees, carcass disposal and loss of market value.
“Contaminated meat, offal and milk containing lead in excess of legal limits are unsafe and illegal to sell.
“In addition, there is a minimum 16-week withdrawal period that could cause delays in the supply chain and incur testing costs,” he warned.
He said it was recognized that farmers take the health and welfare of the animals in their care seriously.
But with lead poisoning often peaking in the spring when cattle are put out to pasture, and with fly-fishing often encountered in the winter, they have been the driving force behind the launch of the Farm Incident Prevention Campaign. .
“Lead batteries, old paint, ash from fires and tipping flies are the main causes of lead poisoning,” McAdam said.
“Prevention is the best strategy, while regularly checking the fields and limiting animals’ access to these sources are the first steps.”
Farmer Stephen Barron of Findouri Farm in Angus has seen first hand how nasty farm incidents such as lead poisoning can be.
“It happened during the first quarantine, and we were supposed to have the last seven calves.
“I remember loving watching the others in the field because it was a beautiful sunny day, but the next day I was shocked to find that some of the cattle had died.”
In total, Barron lost eight cattle due to lead poisoning, with two batteries found in a field that had been dumped by dump trucks.
“Now I am very cautious about using batteries for electric fences. When using them, we make sure that the battery and the fence are closed or out of reach of cattle.
“Disposal of old batteries is also very important and we make sure that there are no spare batteries left on our farm.
“I would not want anyone else to experience what we have done and I encourage all farmers to read the advice and campaign that FSS is running.”