Stock in this context includes all animals and birds that you look after.
The coronavirus outbreak is a worldwide pandemic and WHO rules are world-wide recommendations. The Health recommendations released by Isle of Man Government follow these recommendations.
Stock keepers broadly fall into three categories:
Fit and healthy
For those who are fit and healthy, the advice is ‘business as usual’ whilst carrying out social distancing good practice. You can therefore check your stock as usual.
If you have placed yourself in voluntary isolation you can still check your stock, however by doing so you must understand that this is compromising your self- isolation and therefore putting yourself at risk of catching the virus.
If you live with someone who is displaying symptoms, such as a new continuous dry cough and/or high temperature, everyone in the household must self-isolate for 14 days. Those in the household without symptoms can only leave their house to exercise and must follow social distancing guidance.
If anyone else in the household develops symptoms during that time, current Public Health advice is ALL household members must all self-isolate for a further 14 DAYS from the day the symptoms started.
Agriculture is not a special case in this regard.
You cannot attend to any livestock either directly on land around your farm or on any other land where you have stock. These rules are in place to protect other the wider community. You must abide by all the rules of self-isolation otherwise you risk being prosecuted by way of a £10,000 fine or 3 months in prison.
You must have a contingency plan in place to cover the eventuality of self-isolation. A template for such a contingency plan can be found on the England and Wales website.
You should carry out farm specific risk assessments for all scenarios as part of your contingency plan.
Who will farm if you cannot?
Have a contingency plan, agree cover with a neighbour, friend, relative, volunteer or paid worker. If you don’t have any friends or relatives who can help join the specific groups on Facebook such as the IOM Rural Support Group.
Make agreements to cover each other’s livestock and now, before the need arises would be the best time to appraise one another of how your farm or holding works.
Now is not the time to think it will all be okay. Plan now while you are able to do so.
- DO NOT BE SHY or embarrassed about asking for help to cover the care of your farm and livestock
- DO NOT WORRY about what other people will think if you ask for help everyone is in the same position
- EVERYONE should be asking for help with the delivery of their contingency plan.
- Plan for the worst case scenario; plan for both your entire household and first choice for cover being isolated
It is vital for the control of this disease that you adhere to these rules.