Farmer loses 20 calves to a 'cruel and inhumane act'
Published 12/08/2015 | 02:30
A farmer has spoken of the devastating loss of 20 calves to lead poisoning after the dangerous contents of car batteries were dumped in a field.
Ned O'Hanlon spoke of his shock after he discovered seven calves lying dead in the field where they had been grazing on the morning of Sunday August 2.
The dairy farmer, from Tarbert in Co Kerry, called a vet to the field who diagnosed lead poisoning.
They began searching the field and discovered the inner contents of car batteries scattered around the field.
"Even a small amount of lead can kill an animal and the inner content of a car battery is lethal," he said. "Twenty calves have now died and several more are being treated.
"We are devastated by the loss of so many of our animals in what can only be described as a cruel and inhumane act," said Mr O'Hanlon, with some of the remaining 26 calves left blind and others receiving ongoing treatment.
The farmer said they were very grateful to their vet, neighbours and local farmers, and gardai for their support as many gathered to comb the field for the battery remnants.
Kevin Galvin, the ICMSA Kerry chair, described it as "every farmer's nightmare".
"We're appealing to people not to dump items in rural areas," he said, adding that those responsible must face strong penalties.
The IFA's countryside spokesman and deputy president Tim O'Leary said it was a particularly cruel way for animals to die and called for stronger penalties for roadside flytipping.
"This is an outrageous case of it but animals are being maimed all the time by roadside dumping and it is unfair to rural communities."
Gardai in Listowel are keeping an open mind on whether the batteries were thrown away carelessly or deliberately dumped in the field.
Gardai urged anyone who may have seen any unusual activity in the area to contact them on 068 50827.