Editorial: Animal Welfare is at the heart of farming to ignore it is to hurt everyone


Thats Farming Editor John Connell shares his thoughts on the animal welfare breach in Ballina mart this week.

Editorial: Animal Welfare is at the heart of farming to ignore it is to hurt everyone

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  • 2 years ago

Thats Farming Editor John Connell shares his thoughts on the animal welfare breach in Ballina mart this week.

I love animals in particular, cattle, it’s part of what makes me who I am. They are a big strong but gentle creature. One that are part of our culture here in Ireland, the animal on which our great legends are tied around and an animal I’ve wrote an upcoming book about.

I’m not alone in my admiration for cows millions of people share my views it’s the reason why our article on the welfare breaches against a bullock in Ballina mart is going viral today.

That a bullock broke its leg in the mart was an accident, these things can and do happen. I do not dispute that matter. What upsets me and shocks me is that the animal was left for 10 hours after breaking its leg in the mart without being properly treated and ultimately put down.

What happened in Ballina was in breach of animal welfare laws, livestock rules and more over in breach of basic human decency. We love cattle here at That’s Farming. These are the same animals we stayed up late to deliver into this world, the same animal we fed and looked after and the same animal we treated for disease and watched over with affection and care. I don’t simply put down an calf because he was sickly or poor I put in the hard yards and spend the hours and try and get him right even if he turns out a runt, we still spend the time with him because we care.

Why the vet did not put down the animal there and then on Tuesday in Ballina I do not know. Why a certified butcher was not called as is the case in other marts, we also do not know.

What is clear is the ball was dropped big time by the mart and that the called out vet and mart officials didn’t think of the impact of the ordeal on the animal nor of the impact the event would have on them.

One of our journalists were on site that day and it shows how clearly the mart didn’t even consider the welfare of the animal even with media present.

Upon learning about the story it was clear that we needed to report the matter. The suffering of an animal needlessly is something that sickens me, as a farmer I know all too well the pain of a hurt animal causes on the farmer and on the animal themselves.

That the mart manager and vet opted for the vet to return later when the mart was less busy shows the disregard to animal safety and animal welfare. The priority for the vet was not what people thought, for everyone there was a farmer or connected to farming they have seen animals injured or killed before. The priority was to put the animal down straight away. It was evident it was a fatal injury and the animal being alive was only suffering needlessly.

That it spent its last 11 hours bleeding out on a cold concrete floor is a sickening thing. It would break my heart for this to happen to any of my stock as Im sure it would yours.

As farmers we have a duty of care to our animals in exchange for them providing us with a livelihood we promise to take care of them, protect them and feed them. This is an ancient promise and bond. That promise was broken in Ballina mart this week and we all as a group are the worse for it.

The mainstream media will become aware of this story and when they do we better all be ready to stand up and say animal welfare comes first.

This isn’t the end of this story it’s just the beginning.

If you love cattle we need you to stand with us to call out welfare breaches.

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