500 cattle to be put down at horror farm

Sunday World, 14/02/1999

The cruel part-time farmer who left hundreds of stock to rot and die is set to have his herd of 500 cattle put down.

Accountant Thomas Greene, who owns a 15-acre farm in a picturesque village, has a string of convictions for cruelty to animals.

  In November, the Sunday World first told how Gardai found 450 cattle cramped in a tiny shed, with stinking manure piled up to their stomachs and poor drinking facilities.

  Animals were floating in a filthy pit, their carcasses being picked at by hungry grey cows.

  Last week, the Department of Agriculture humanely killed 42 of the animals following a court case in which the owner was fined for cruelty.

  At the order of the judge, the rest of the 500-strong herd of cattle are expected to be taken away by the authorities for slaughter in the coming weeks.


Horrific

The scene at the farm near Dromod, Co Leitrim was described in court by a Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector as “horrific”.

   On the day, there were 15 carcasses visible, and he calculated that over 100 cattle had died since they first began visiting the farm.

   Greene disputed the order of the court to have the animals destroyed.

  He claimed he has been spending £3,500 a week on feed for the animals and had a total bill of £32,000 since the end of September. He estimated he will lose £150,000 as a result of the cattle slaughter.

  “We were alarmed at how much they could eat,” he said. “All of them failed because of the quality of the fodder. The quality of the hay was good but we were sceptical about the silage.”

The herd is in the name of his wife, Beatrice Greene, of Trean, Mohill. However, last week, Greene admitted that the animals were in fact his. “To all intents and purposes, the cattle are mine,” he told a reporter.

  At Carrick-on-Shannon court three weeks ago, Beatrice Greene was fined £10 for ill-treating a heifer and £10 for permitting animal carcasses to remain unburied.

  A Department of Agriculture Inspector told the court that the living cattle were sunk deep in mud and had to dive through the mud like a river.

  He said that straw was their staple diet and there was no water, other than rain waiter, in sight.

  “I have never seen anything like it in all my days as an inspector,” he said. “It is horrific.” He added that the remaining cattle were in no condition for anything and the most humane thing to do was to kill them.

Greene said he and his wife were represented in court by a solicitor – he did not go to the court himself because he said he was quick-tempered.

  Judge Bernard Brennan ordered that the entire herd be slaughtered and that the owners could not be registered as herd-owners again by the Department of Agriculture.

  According to Greene, six men were brought in last Friday to dispose of the cattle. He said the animals shot included a three-day-old calf and her mother, and a young in-calf heifer.

  “They filled a 100ft long crush with cattle and shot them there. Grown men were in tears.”

Greene admitted there were too many cattle for the one shed but he had been building two others and the high winds in the recent storms had blown the roofs off them.


Charged

Last December at Rooskey District Court in Roscommon, Beatrice Greene was charged with six counts of animal cruelty.

  Evidence was given by a Garda and a Department of Agriculture inspector of finding 12 dead cattle in a pond at the back of a shed on a farm and of animals sucking water from slurry to quench their thirst.

  Judge Bernard Brennan convicted and fined the defendant £50 on each of the counts and said then that if something was not done, he would have to recommend that the herd be slaughtered.