Creed reiterates ‘condemnation’ of callous calf handling in France

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has once again reiterated his condemnation “in the strongest terms” any ill treatment towards livestock.

His comments come in the midst of the continued fallout of an alleged animal welfare breach at a holding facility for calves near Cherbourg, in France, last week.

Following the posting of a graphic video online, a man was arrested by French authorities on suspicion of cruelty to calves.

The calves in question are believed to be of Irish origin.

Dairy farmers too have voiced consternation over the incident, calling for anyone guilty of mistreating animals to be “prosecuted and published” accordingly.

The investigation into what is believed to be an “isolated act” remains ongoing; however, it is understood that “progress” has been made.

‘Horrified and angered’

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has stated that it is “horrified and angered” by the footage – released by animal welfare groups Eyes on Animals and L214  – of the calves being physically mistreated.

“We are calling on Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, to launch an immediate investigation and to immediately suspend the export of calves from Ireland to France and the Netherlands until the investigation is complete.

Such brutal and cruel handling of calves is completely unacceptable and must not be tolerated.

In light of the ongoing controversy, Minister Creed is urging any persons that have direct knowledge, or evidence of breaches of animal welfare, to report it directly to the relevant authorities “without delay”.

Transport procedures

In relation to the export of live animals, the minister stated that Ireland applies “strict controls” in relation to the 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.

The department is continuing to engage with French counterparts on the incident.

The minister said he understands that “progress” has been made by the French authorities in relation to their investigations.