Farmer admits to cruelty after pig is eaten alive
A LARGE-scale Irish farmer pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after admitting he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat it after it was found eaten alive.
Pig farmer Rory O'Brien pleaded guilty to a total of five animal cruelty charges before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin was told that O'Brien of Killicane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork was admitting five charges brought under animal welfare regulations.
Rory O'Brien and his wife, Monica, and their farm manager, Seamus Curran, pleaded not guilty to a total of 88 charges relating to various allegations of animal cruelty on dates between May 3 and September 8, 2011. Rory O'Brien faced a total of 32 counts.
Curran has an address of Kiltrislane, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.
Judge Ó Donnabháin was told, after a jury was sworn in to hear the case, that Rory O'Brien could be re-arraigned on five of the charges.
He confirmed a guilty plea on all five charges and the court was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was formally entering a nolle prosequi or 'no prosecution' order in respect of all outstanding charges against Monica O'Brien and Seamus Curran.
Both were discharged.
The charges to which the farmer pleaded guilty included that on July 25 2011 he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it was found eaten alive with a large bleeding wound on its left side at Killicane, Mitchelstown.
He also admitted that, between May 3 and September 8 2011, he failed to take the necessary measures to ensure the welfare of the pigs under his control and that he failed to ensure the animals were not caused unnecessary suffering or injury by failing to treat or euthanise them.
O'Brien also admitted that, between June 7 and 10 2011, he failed to comply with a welfare notice relating to the animals in his possession or under his control and care, the notice being dated June 7.
The farmer admitted that, on May 9 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a pig by failing to treat or euthanise it after it had its flesh extensively eaten out of its ribcage.
Finally, he admitted that, on June 3 2011, he caused unnecessary suffering to a boar by failing to treat or euthanise it when it had swollen joints and serious abscesses.
Judge Ó Donnabháin was asked to adjourn sentencing in the matter to allow for the preparation of expert reports.
He was told the State had no objection to O'Brien being remanded on continuing bail.
Judge Ó Donnabháin remanded him for sentencing on February 12.
The most serious charges against O'Brien carry a maximum penalty of a fine of up to €100,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment.
The three lesser charges carry penalties of a fine of up to €10,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
Rory O'Brien ranked as one of the largest-scale pig farmers in Ireland.
He waged a high-profile campaign against the closure by Dairygold of its Galtee Meats plant in Mitchelstown back in 2007.
The plant - one of Ireland's biggest pigmeat processing facilities - closed with the loss of almost 500 jobs as part of the rationalisation of Dairygold operations.