A 21-year-old farmer has been recently convicted at Omagh Magistrates’ Court for transporting an unfit animal, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The Co. Tyrone farmer was convicted of one charge of transporting an animal that was not fit for the journey.

Ryan McElduff, from Creggan Road, Cranagh, Carrickmore, pleaded guilty at Omagh Magistrates’ Court today, July 14, and received a conditional discharge for 18 months.

The case arose when the Official Veterinarian (OV) at an abattoir examined a cow presented by McElduff, DAERA added.

The animal was reportedly bearing very little weight on its left hind leg and was showing signs of being in pain and distress.

The leg was submitted to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) for examination and a pathologist concluded that there was an unstable fracture of the femur, according to the department.

Risks of transporting animals in hot weather

Meanwhile, DAERA recently reminded farmers and hauliers to take extra care to protect livestock when transporting them during warm weather.

It explained that exposure to high temperatures and humidity is a "major threat" to animal welfare during transport and poses a serious risk during the summer months.

Failure to take account of high temperatures when planning journeys - in addition to a lack of adequate contingency plans - can cause suffering to animals, the department said.

Farmers and hauliers were reminded that contingency plans should be in place for every journey.

These plans are particularly important in hot conditions as delays such as traffic jams or vehicle breakdowns - which might be relatively insignificant under normal conditions - can become critical very quickly, DAERA added.

Drivers should also be able to recognise signs of heat stress in animals and take appropriate action, the department concluded.