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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Update on testing following cow deaths

26 January 2023

​A number of potential causes of the recent cattle deaths at a Jersey farm have been ruled out, but testing continues at a UK laboratory. 

More than 100 cows at Woodlands Farm died over the course of a few days in mid-December. 

There have, since, been two main areas of testing:

  1. Animal tissue samples taken by the farmer’s private vet were sent for analysis immediately after the incident. A number of possible diagnoses that can cause high mortality in cattle were ruled out, including notifiable diseases such as Anthrax, BSE and Foot and Mouth Disease. 

  2. Samples of the feed taken by the Government’s Natural Environment team are being tested at a laboratory in the UK. The findings of the initial testing on the animal tissue samples (mentioned above) are being used to help focus the secondary testing. This is likely to take some time and may not be conclusive

Director of Natural Environment, Willie Peggie, said: “We have a working theory and strong confidence in what caused the cows to die so suddenly, however it would be unprofessional, unwise and without scientific rigour to state that publicly just yet, until the further testing of the feed is complete.

“We can say that no ‘notifiable disease’ has been found, and that this is an isolated incident. We continue to work closely with the private vet, the farmer and the laboratories. The testing is a process of elimination, and this means that the most we may be able to provide is a likely explanation of the cause, rather than one that is absolutely definitive.”

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