Minister condemns alleged animal welfare breaches of exported calves

WARNING: Video contains distressing images

Stock photo.
Stock photo.

Ciaran Moran and Margaret Donnelly

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has condemned alleged mistreatment of Irish calves, in footage that is circulating online.

Footage has 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.

According to the footage, 100,000 young calves, which it calls by-products of the dairy industry, and are shipped from Ireland every year. It goes on to say the calves are "exhausted" and "thirsty" when they disembark.

"But this pause will prove to be a real ordeal for some of them. The images show calves dragged by the ears to the feeders while others receive many shots. One of them is even trampled by an employee," according to Eyes on Animals.

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.

He said that in relation to the export of live animals, Ireland applies strict controls in relation to welfare of animals including during transport and has procedures and checks in place to ensure compliance with EU and national legislation.

Prior to export all livestock undergo an animal health and welfare check carried out by a Department Official Veterinarian to ensure that only fit and healthy livestock are certified for export. All trucks are inspected and checked for water, spacing and other legislative requirements prior to departure.  Where non-compliance is identified, appropriate remedial action is taken.

It comes after the IFA called on the Minister for Agriculture here in recent weeks to expand capacity for lairages in France that hold calves after being exported from Ireland.

Online Editors