Cows at Woodlands Farm most likely died from botulism, says Jersey's chief vet

ITV Channel's Will Tullis spoke to the Environment Department and members of Jersey's farming community.

The cows at Woodlands Farm most likely died from botulism, according to Jersey's chief veterinary officer.

Susan Ramos says they had believed the rare illness to be the cause of death for some time, but that it is "notoriously hard to test for."

It is characterised by progressive muscle weakness, but diagnosis is often done by a process of elimination and an analysis of the symptoms reported at the time of death.

In this case, the test results were not conclusive as no toxin was found, but there were some bacterial spores spotted.

Therefore, it has been possible to rule out a number of other illnesses, and conclude that botulism is the most likely cause of death.

Cattle are extremely sensitive to it, and in most cases, it is fatal for the animal.

In mid-December, more than 100 Jersey dairy cows died at Woodlands Farm, a family-run premises based in St Helier.

At the time, thousands of litres of milk were disposed of as a precaution, and the dead cattle were taken to Jersey's Animal Carcass Incinerator.

Now that the investigation into the deaths is over, Jersey's Natural Environment Director says islanders have nothing to worry about.

Willie Peggie said: “We have no reason to believe that there is any further risk to animals or any risk to the general public.”

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