Bogus pregnancy scam

ICSA Suckler Chairman Frank Keogh has warned suckler farmers of a new scam which can be costly to those selling young heifers, where some unscrupulous buyers are falsely claiming pregnancies in young heifers. ‘An unfortunate consequence of improved genetics of weanling females from suckler herds is earlier puberty which may result in unplanned pregnancies. In recent years pregnancy in heifers as young as seven months is not uncommon and as young as five-and-a-half-months have been recorded. These heifers are not fully developed and are ill equipped to carry a calf.’ ‘This is an animal welfare issue and responsibility always remains with the farmers on whose farm the pregnancy occurred. The discovery of a pregnancy in a heifer eight months after she has been sold is a costly experience for the original farmer, and ICSA would urge all farmers to take steps to ensure pregnancy prevention before the sale of their stock. However ICSA also wish to counsel suckler farmers of vigilance of a different kind after the sale of these animals. Many of the weanling heifers from suckler herds in the South are bought by farmers and traders from Northern Ireland, 99 percent of which are bona fide operators.’ However there is a tiny, unscrupulous contingent which is involved with claiming false pregnancies. ICSA’s advice to suckler farmers who are contacted about heifers which they sold and which subsequently turn up pregnant is: Never agree a settlement over the phone without travelling to see the stock in question. If in doubt about the true identity of the animals in question, always insist on a DNA test.