Friday 21 October 2016

'Late Late' shouldn't be on the rack over Dynamo the lamb's TV debut

Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30

Ryan Tubridy with sheep
Ryan Tubridy with sheep

There's a lot of people concerned about poor auld Lambo II, aka Dynamo.

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The poor cratur set Twitter alight last Friday following his appearance on the 'Late Late Show'. At the ripe old age of four days old, Dynamo was selected to demo a new invention from Galway man TJ Gormley.

It's a crate designed to help farmers restrain lambs when they're being tagged, or getting their tails ringed.

Unfortunately for Dynamo, the concept was meaningless without the essential prop of a lamb to show just how brilliant it was. Cue Dynamo, spread-eagled on a rack in front of a live TV audience and 600,000 viewers.

It was hard to know who was more bewildered - the audience, a visibly uneasy Ryan Tubridy, or Dynamo the lamb. The Twitter machine went into overdrive.

"Absolutely appalling treatment of a lamb tonight on the #latelate animal restraint obviously terrified while crowd laugh on. Shame!" the National Animal Rights Association virtually bellowed. "Just switched on #latelate and am horrifed at cruelty to poor animals," said Dubliner Angela Rainsford.

Rural Ireland lashed back. "Some people would want to get a grip over this lamb business on the late late show. Christ, god help them if they saw a calf being delivered," reponded Limerick man Frankie Mulqueen.

While non-farmers obsessed about whether the lamb was suffering, the agricultural portion of RTE's audience will have instantly realised that they were witnessing the start of a great idea.

In the same way that John Concannon made a fortune out of the calf bucket that he presented to a guffawing Gay Byrne nearly 30 years previously, TJ Gormley was trying to impress on an incredulous Tubs that this simple idea had the power to improve life on the farm.

Because if you've ever struggled to tag a squirming lamb, you'll know how easy it is to make a hash of it, hit a vein, upsetting the lamb... and the farmer. Spare a thought then for the majority of Irish farmers, who are aged over 60, struggling to tag maybe hundreds of lambs.

Despite the strange environment, the noise of hundreds of people, Dynamo the lamb remained perfectly still during the two-minute segment. Was it because he was too petrified to budge? I don't think so. The restraining bars were so well designed that Dynamo - to my eyes - looked wary, but comfortable. If it worked so well in RTE studios, imagine how effective it would be on a farm.

This seemed to be a bit lost on Ryan Tubridy. The host could barely bring himself to look at the lamb during the entire demo. "The poor fella, the eyes are rolling in his head… he's every right to..." opined Tubs, in between the moments when he wasn't hiding behind his hands. It was like he didn't know whether he should be milking this bit of odd entertainment or be appalled by it.

Which begs the question: should Dynamo have been hauled under bright lights to entertain 'Late Late' viewers?

Pictures tweeted by the show yesterday showed the lamb back in the pastures of Galway, looking happy with his mum. So he survived - possibly a bit traumatised by the whole affair, but no more so than your average 'Late Late' guest.

Dynamo can be satisfied in a job well done: another rural entrepreneur in the making, and a lot of happy farmers.


An Irish animal-rights group has vowed to save Dynamo and his family from the dinner plate.

Almost 90 people have now formally complained to RTÉ over the 'controversial 'Lamb Carousel' segment on the 'Late Late Show'.

And yesterday the Animal Rights Action Network launched a campaign to save the lamb from slaughter.

Spokesperson John Carmody said: "Whilst ARAN would never want to prop up such an industry, we would be willing to come to some financial agreement to save the lives of the two lambs and their mother."

Irish Independent

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