Man arrested in Cherbourg for ‘isolated act’ of calf cruelty

A man has reportedly been arrested in Cherbourg, France, on suspicion of cruelty to calves following the emergence of a video online in recent days.

The cruelty is believed to have occurred in Tollevast, near Cherbourg, where calves were unloaded.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has condemned any acts of cruelty or ill treatment of livestock in relation to the matter.

The video, recorded in a joint move between French and Dutch animal welfare groups L214 and Eyes on Animals, was published on social media yesterday by L214 – which the group claims involves trucks transporting calves between Ireland and the Netherlands.

This footage – according to local publication Le Dauphine – is being used by French authorities for prosecution.

“According to the first elements of the investigation, it is an isolated act,” the prosecutor Yves le Clair allegedly said.

“As it stands, my investigation is about acts of cruelty by an individual and not about the operation of the company,” Le Clair told Le Dauphine.

Department response

In a statement to AgriLand on the matter, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said the department “condemns in the strongest terms any ill treatment of livestock and would urge any persons who have direct knowledge or evidence of breaches of animal welfare to report it directly to the relevant authorities without any delay”.

“In relation to the export of live animals, 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 spokesperson concluded.

In a statement released by L214, the welfare group said: “L214 and Eyes on Animals [have filed] a complaint for acts of cruelty.”