Fears of disease spreading and water pollution have been raised after the rotting carcasses of approximately 10 dead calves, multiple sheep and lambs, were discovered dumped near a riverbank along a road outside Fivemiletown.

The dead animals appear to have been flytipped in two lots near the Alderwood Road, Fivemiletown, with the carcasses of Friesian calves strewn along the edge of a riverbank, while some metres away, a number of dead sheep and lambs were also dumped.

Kevin McElvogue, an Independent Republican candidate for Clogher Valley, told The Impartial Reporter that the issue was raised to him by concerned residents of the local area last Friday (April 7).

However, due to a rotting smell, he believes the carcasses may have been dumped days prior.

Questioning why the dead animals have been dumped, Kevin said: “Was there a disease that they were dumped [because of]? Is that disease spreading?

“My concerns are the pollution of the river, and birds are coming in there and carrying bits away to eat it.

“If they are diseased, the disease could spread to other animals. There could be cattle drinking out of that river.

“I’m sure that there’re a lot of farmers that don’t even know what’s happened there,” said Kevin, noting that the local residents that he was talking to are “very angry” about the situation.

“They would need to be removed urgently,” he added, saying that he reported the issue to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) last Friday.

However, yesterday (Wednesday, April 12), the dead animals were still present, with a rotting stench filling the air surrounding them.

When asked by this newspaper why the dead animals had not yet been removed, a DAERA spokesman said: “DAERA is investigating reports of animal carcasses being left in the river near Fivemiletown.

“Farmers are legally responsible for disposing of their fallen stock, not the Department. If a carcass is dumped on private land and the owner cannot be identified, then the landowner is responsible for disposing of it correctly.

“Where a carcass is dumped in a river and is causing an obstruction to the flow of water, disposal is the responsibility of the Rivers Agency.

“Disposal of carcasses found on the banks of rivers, and those in the river not causing an obstruction, are the responsibility of the adjoining landowner.

“Where a carcass is dumped elsewhere, including on public land or highways, and ownership of the carcass cannot be ascertained, responsibility for disposal rests with the local authority.

“It is vital for the agri-food and livestock industry that there is high public confidence in its ability to dispose of animal carcases, animal by-products and waste in a safe and sustainable manner.

“Local councils have powers to take actions against such fly-tipping and action may be taken against the owner of the carcass.

“Most farmers deal with their fallen stock responsibly, but unfortunately there are a small number of farmers who don’t, and this can impact on the reputation of the rest.”