Farmers outraged at abuse of Irish calves at French lairage

WARNING: Video contains distressing images

The abuse was filmed by activist group Eyes on Animals
The abuse was filmed by activist group Eyes on Animals
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers have described the brutality shown towards calves in holding facility Cherbourg as despicable.

It comes as the ISPCA called for the immediate suspension of the export of calves from Ireland to France and the Netherlands following the release of footage of alleged abuse.

IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan said that the footage was as upsetting for farmers as for everybody else.

"Live exports are extremely important for Irish agriculture. They are highly regulated by the Department of Agriculture to ensure animal comfort, which is exactly as it should be.

"While this incident occurred in Cherbourg, France they were Irish calves. Irish farmers are outraged to see any animal being treated so badly.

"We understand that the individual in question has been arrested. He should be subject to the full rigours of the law because his actions were wrong and totally unacceptable,” he said.

Footage emerged that claims to show Irish calves being shipped between Ireland and the Netherlands and the mistreatment of calves.

According to the activist group who shot the footage, the journey, which it says took more than 50 hours - sees the calves are unloaded in Tollevast, near Cherbourg, to be fed and rested.

The ISPCA said it was horrified and angered by the footage released by animal welfare groups Eyes on Animals of calves being physically abused, kicked, dragged by the ears, thrown and stamped on by workers at a lairage in France.

"We are calling on Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture to launch an immediate investigation and to an immediately suspend the export of calves from Ireland to France and the Netherlands until the investigation is complete," it said in a statement.

Yesterday the Green Party claimed that live export of cattle is unethical and called for trade to be banned.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that "live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry. 

"They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers," she said.

Minister Creed condemned the alleged mistreatment of Irish calves, in footage that is circulating online.

The Minister has condemned any ill treatment of livestock and said he would urge any persons who have direct knowledge or evidence of breaches of animal welfare to report it directly to the relevant Authorities without any delay.

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