Sir, Turkeys indeed are the quintessence of Christmas, but I am somewhat astonished at the apparently unhygienic manner in which the birds are handled at the cattle marts. Your front page photograph (December 18th) and a similar RTE news shot showed farmers unloading the freshly killed birds from horse boxes and dumping them in a wheelbarrow, to be subsequently displayed in cattle pens.

No doubt a closer examination of the sales area would reveal an official from the local authority making sure that rails, horse boxes and wheelbarrow are regularly sterilised, in the interests, of health and safety. Yours, etc.,

Glencormac, Bray, Co Wicklow.