Focus on the dairy sector

Debate continues about RTÉ programme

Sir, – I watched the very well-presented and researched programme RTÉ Investigates: Dairy’s Dirty Secret on Monday, July 10th.

To say that I was shocked, horrified, angry and frustrated is the minimum of what I felt.

The Department of Agriculture must be given every assistance and resource to “out” and penalise the marts and hauliers mentioned in the programme, and the mart staff partaking in the animal cruelty must be dismissed and prosecuted.

Please don’t tell me that the people involved in kicking, beating, punching and throwing these calves from trailers were not mart staff, as only mart staff would have access to the animals. The public would not be allowed into animal areas on health and safety grounds.


It was very harrowing to watch the programme but I must compliment the programme makers for sticking with the situation for more than five months in order to get film footage of the cruelty. I am appalled at what I saw but hope the Department of Agriculture and animal welfare bodies will be given every assistance to secure prosecutions and end these cruel practices.

I have no doubt the situation is a result of pure greed in the Irish dairy sector. – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.

Sir, – In relation to the RTÉ Investigates programme which attempted to find farmers guilty of animal welfare abuses, I would like to make two comments.

Firstly, regarding the so-called abuse of animals, cows and calves, occurred while the animals were being transported from one location to another – a stressful situation for both farmer and beast, and one where injury to a person can easily happen should an animal take fright and bolt. You cannot blame a farmer for trying to control an animal in this way in order to complete the task as quickly and safely as possible.

The second point I would like to make is that in horseracing, it is legal for a jockey to use the whip on a horse six times during a flat race, and seven times in a jump race. Perhaps RTÉ Investigates have plans to investigate the horseracing industry for animal welfare abuses? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – The dairy industry’s other “dirty secret” is the pollution of our rivers and lakes, which farmers seem to do with impunity.

This abuse is of greater consequence than the cruelty inflicted on calves because it jeopardises the supply of clean water and destroys irreplaceable ecosystems.

I look forward to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue declaring this widespread vandalism as “utterly unacceptable”, as he did regarding the treatment of calves, and rigorously applying the sanctions that are supposed to apply to the agricultural effluents and run-offs that are destroying our destroying our pristine waterways. – Yours, etc



Dublin 6.