Cattle left to rot on horror farm

Part-time farmer to be quizzed after 450 starving cows were found stuffed into shed

Sunday World, 15/11/1998

Meet roly-poly accountant and part-time farmer, Thomas Greene – at the centre of a major probe into alleged animal cruelty.

The horrific photographs appearing here today show dozens of cattle dead and rotting on his muddied farm in Co. Leitrim.

  The appalling vista of death and devastation shocked gardai and environmental inspectors who were called in this week to investigate.

  They found 450 starving cattle cramped into a shed only suitable for half that number.

  The building was so stuffed, the animals were unable to lie down or move around.

  Stinking manure was piled up between their legs. And drinking facilities were poor. There was insufficient feed stuff for the huge number of young cattle.

  Worst of all was at the rear of the shed. Gardai found the rotting and emaciated bodies of 30 animals submerged in a half-flooded pit.

  Other young dead animals had been dragged from the horror shed and left to lie on open ground beside the 12 feet deep putrid hole.

  One investigator said: “The stench was horrendous. The smell of disease was everywhere. It was like the devastation left by Hurricane Mitch.

  “There were animals floating in the filty pit. Their huge carcasses were being picked at by hungry grey crows.

  “It’s hard to believe this is happening in modern Ireland. It’s like something you’d see in a Third World country.”


And a spokesman for the ISPCA remarked: “It’s the worst situation I have witnessed in years.

  “As it stands it’s creating a serious health hazard to the animals themselves, neighbouring farmers’ animals and the environment.

  “The shed has no facilities for dunging out and there’s no slurry tank whatsoever.

  “The slurry and water from the decaying animals and the pit is seeping into nearby water tables and drains and in turn is flowing into the Shannon.”

And an environmental health source told the Sunday World: “There is a risk to public health if the contamination on the farm is seeping into the nearby water supply. It’s potentially lethal to the public.”

  Green’s 15 acre farm is located at Clooncolry outside picturesque Dromod, winner of the Co Leitrim Tidy Village prize several times in recent years.

  Locals are disgusted and horrified at what has been happening.

  One said: “With the very bad summer which has passed, fodder will be scarce and these poor animals will have no chance at all.”

  The Sunday World confronted balding and bespectacled Greene, aged about 50, as he left his thriving accountancy and auditors practice in Mohill, Co Leitrim late on Friday night.

  A reporter showed him the shocking pictures of devastation on his farm and he replied: “Yes, that is my land.

  “If you want to come down to the farm tomorrow, we can have a chat.”

Asked to explain why his cattle were living in such horrendous conditions, Greene said he had no comment to make.

  Greene from Trean, outside Mohill, then turned aggressive when a Sunday World photographer attempted to take his picture.

  He chased the photographer down the street, shouting: “Don’t point that camera in my face. I’ll pull your f***ing head off”.

  This week gardai went to the farm and observed first hand the appalling conditions in which the cattle are forced to live.

  A spokesman said: “The matter is being investigated and we are preparing a file for the DPP.”

  The matter has also been reported to Shannon Regional Fisheries Inspectors and officials from the local county council’s Environmental Health division.