Live animal exports

 

Sir, – We Irish like to consider ourselves to be considerate and compassionate people, and for the most part we are that. However, when it comes to the live export of animals, we fail abysmally. Many farmers and transport workers will undoubtedly do their best for the non-consenting animals in their care. Arrival at foreign ports for cattle of all ages is a ghastly experience of terror, pain and inhumane slaughter. Despite growing opposition to this and other cruel practices abroad, the present Minister for Agriculture has declared his intention to expand the trade. May we expect a different approach from the new government?

Animals know the central experience of pain just as we humans do.

There is a large and expanding body of knowledge pointing to the fact that animals suffer not only physical pain but mental and social pain as well. Separation anxiety and failure to thrive are just two manifestations of grief seen in domestic and farm animals alike. Consider the barbaric practice of separating tiny calves from their mothers depriving the calf of its birth right and causing the cow enormous distress.

In keeping with some recent exhortations to seek qualities such as empathy and compassion in our politicians, I suggest that we ask our new TDs as to their stance on animal welfare.

Exporting live animals is not the mark of a civilised and empathetic society. There is a real danger that people who deny care and compassion to animals will deal likewise with their fellow human beings. – Yours, etc,

MARY F McATEER,

Naas,

Co Kildare.