Breaches of Regulations

Farmer sent to jail over foot-and-mouth breach

Irish Independent, 20/6/2003

William Cranston of Skerrymore, Drumacrib Co.Monaghan was sentenced to three months imprisonment and fined a total of €7,200 with €2,250 at Castleblayney District Court (19/05/03) after he pleaded guilty to six breaches of regulations during the 2000/2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak. He faced 16 charges brought by the Minister for Agriculture for contravening regulations introduced by the department relating to the movement of livestock between October 24, 2000 and May 5, 2001. Mr.Cranston also faced a number of charges related to breaches of the Bovine TB Order and the Diseases of Animals act on various dates.  Following a guilty plea by Mr.Cranston the judge, Flann Brennan, struck out 10 of the charges, all of which arose as a result of the discovery by department officials of livestock from the North on the accused’s farm in the Republic.

Fined €10,000 for BSE breach

Evening Herald, 17/10/2003

A farmer has been fined€ 10,000 and given a nine month suspended jail sentence for breaching regulations brought in to prevent the spread of BSE. Peter Stritch of Bellisle, Clonlara, Co Clare, who has previous convictions for livestock offences, was convicted of moving cattle into a restricted herd. Stritch pleaded guilty to ten counts of moving animals into a restricted holding on dates between January 2001 and May 2001. Last may the 37-year-old was fined €25,000 and received a four month suspended sentence after he was convicted of a number of offences, including importing cattle from the north contrary to controls.

Greyhounds shot and dumped in Limerick quarry after poor trials

Limerick Leader, 02/05/2013

THE OWNER of greyhounds that were shot and dumped in a quarry in County Limerick refused to tell gardai who killed the animals, a court has heard.  see more

Neglectful farmer escapes jail over cruelty to cattle

Irish Independent, 1/06/2005

A farmer who has starved his cattle to death was told yesterday he would have to apply to the courts if he was ever to be allowed have livestock in his care again.

David Coffey of Newgrove, Kilrickle, Co Galway, escaped jail after admitting charges of animal cruelty and failing to properly register his herd. Coffey appeared at Loughrea Circuit Court yesterday, appealing at eight-month jail term handed down at Ballinasloe District Court.

Department of Agriculture vet Elizabeth O’Flynn told the court that, in conjunction with the ISPCA, she inspected Coffey’s herd on February 2 last year.

The 60 animals showed signs of starvation. They were bellowing for food and there was no evidence of feed or shelter. There were carcases on the land. Some cattle showed extreme weakness and one died shortly after the visit. Ms O’Flynn said Coffey admitted he had not had a vet out for 14 months.

Neither tags nor registration of animals were in place and Ms O’Flynn issued a regulatory notice compelling him to address the problems. He agreed to do so immediately.

On numerous subsequent visits Ms O’Flynn said there was little change. Some beasts had to be put down. Further notices were issued.

Defence counsel told Judge Raymond Groarke Coffey was very depressed, but his condition had only been properly diagnosed recently. Judge Groarke accepted Coffey was ill. He had heard many such cases in court but had never yet heard one where there was not a psychic reason.

The court heard Coffey had disposed of his cattle.

The judge said he would suspend sentence and proposed to prohibit Coffey from holding animals without applying to court to see if he was fit to do so. He adjourned sentence to finalise the prohibition wording.

Evening Herald, 28/03/2003

Beef farmer, Joe Earley, Castle Manor, Drogheda, Co. Louth was sentenced to two year’s imprisonment on six charges relating to use of illegal growth hormones and misuse of cattle identity tags.

Det Garda Gerry Nohilly of Mullingar said Earley would use the hormones on other people’s cattle and offered a service where he would provide the cattle and the illegal hormones if they wished. Earley also put false identity tags on cattle so he could claim cash from the Department of Agriculture on them.

Farmers ignored block on animal moves in virus scare

Irish Independent, 15/06/2001

Two Co Galway farmers ignored the animal movement permit regulations introduced at the height of the foot-and-mouth disease emergency.

Pat Fleming (67) of Corofin, with his son John, was moving about 50 sheep to an out-farm about two miles away on April 26 last when he ran into a Garda checkpoint.

At Hearford District Court yesterday Judge John Garavan noted the date of the offence was at the height of the emergency and nobody should have taken such a chance. He imposed a £500 fine.

Martin Joe Flaherty of Knockdoe, Loughgeorge, was taking a 13-year-old pony to tease a mare he wanted to get into foal when he was stopped on April 30 last.

Sergent Clarke told the court that Mr Flaherty insisted that he had a valid permit to move the pony, but when he checked the records, it emerged that no such permit had been issued. The judge imposed a £1,000 fine.

Roscommon AI man fined

Irish Farmers Journal, 04/12/2004

A Roscommon man has been fined €250 and ordered to pay €3,200 in costs and expenses after admitting to Roscommon District court for operating an unlicensed AI business with 300 farmer clients.

Richard Kenny of Mount Talbot, Roscommon also received three separate fines of €250 each for possession of two fertility drugs and carrying out unauthorised trading in bovine semen.

The case arose following a raid on the defendant’s farm by the Department of Agriculture in October, 2002.

Farmers fined for livestock and record-keeping offences

Irish Independent, 14/06/2005

Fines totalling €10,500 were imposed on two Co Monaghan farmers who pleaded guilty to breaching EY regulations relating to the movement of livestock and failing to keep herd records.

  At Carrickmacross District Court, Judge Flann Brennan also ordered the men to pay expenses totalling €2,950.

  Aidan McCooey, Derrycreevy, Castleblayney, was fined a total of €6,000 when he was convicted on eight charges brought by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

  He also received a suspended sentence of four months imprisonment, and was ordered to enter into a €1,000 bond to be of good behaviour for four years.

  The other accused, Patsy McCooey, Drumalish, Castleblaney, was fined a total of €4,500.

  Each of the accused were also ordered to pay €1,475 expenses.

  Brendan Daly, an official at the Department of Agriculture, gave evidence of investigating the breaches.

  The court heard the charges were adjourned on a number of occasions. They related to breaches of EU regulations governing the movement of livestock over a period between May 2002 and August 2003 and failure to keep records, required under the EU and the Department’s Bovine regulations.

  Similar charges against a third farmer, William Crabston, Skerrymore, Drumacrib, Co Monaghan were adjourned to a further hearing.

The food minister who flouts his own rules on quality

Sunday Tribune, 03/12/2000

Ned O’Keefe’s pig farm uses meat and bone meal.  see more

Outrage over barbaric pig slaying by gun

Sunday Independent, 19/06/2005

A disturbing video showing the “inhumane” slaughter of farm animals under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture has been obtained by the Sunday Independent.  see more

Department of Agriculture in the dock over pig slaughter

Sunday Independent, 26/06/2005

A government animal welfare committee has asked the Department of Agriculture to explain how a farmer cruelly slaughtered more than 4,000 pigs while under official supervision.

  The inhumane slaughter was caught on video, showing the farmer killing pigs with a captive bolt gun, contrary to EU regulations, which only permit its use for stunning an animal. In other breaches, the animals were not restrained before being shot and were not killed in isolation.

  The video, revealed in the Sunday Independent last week, was viewed by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council last Thursday. Members of the government appointed council were said to be shocked by the images of clearly-distressed animals writhing violently in their dying moments after being shot with the bolt gun.

  The committee has asked Department to report back to its next meeting, in August.

  The Department has distanced itself from the poor slaughter practice on the video, arguing that the farmer sought to kill the animals himself and that veterinary inspectors who assessed the process saw nothing amiss.

  The Department’s role in the slaughter has been queried by animal welfare campaigners, who claim the evidence clearly shows that the farmer was not competent to kill the animals and that officials should have stepped in to halt the cruel slaughter.

  Mary Ann Barlett, of Compassion in World Farming, called for an independent inquiry “into how that slaughter was allowed to take place on farm, in the knowledge of the Department of Agriculture.”

Ms Bartlett,0 who also sits on the animal welfare council, said she was prohibited from discussing what transpired at Thursday’s meeting.

  “The crux of the matter to us is how was that allowed to happen when the Department knew about it – and with a captive bolt pistol,” she said.

  “All slaughter should be done in a suitable location under very, very strict veterinary supervision. In this case, someone who is not a trained slaughterer killed huge numbers of animals.

  “This is about welfare of animals. We want to know how it happened and we want complete reassurance from the Department that it will not happen again.”

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports also plans to raise the role of the Department of Agriculture in the slaughter with the European Commission.

  Tom Galvin, from Dungarvan in Waterford, slaughtered his herd in 2002, almost three months after they were impounded by the Department. Officials found a banned substance on his farm which they say he confessed to feeding to his pigs. Disease broke out and Mr Galvin claimed he had no option but to slaughter the pigs on welfare grounds.

  Mr Galvin is currently being prosecuted under the Animal Remedies Act, and is in turn suing the Department. In a statement last week, the Department of Agriculture said the farmer sought to slaughter the animals himself on welfare grounds.

  Two veterinary inspectors regarded him as competent enough to use a captive bolt gun to put down the pigs. The inspectors visited the farms on numerous occasions to assess the slaughter but the farmer never raised concerns.

  “They witnessed the herd owner using the captive bolt method to slaughter pigs on such occasions and furthermore witnessed him pithing a number of pigs where this was required to ensure death,” the statement read.

Responding to a Dail question from Fine Gael’s Agriculture spokesman Denis Naughton, Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan said: “The herd owner had decided to slaughter his animals on farm and the Department considered at the time it could not legally have forced him to have the operation conducted in a slaughter plant.”

‘Sacrificial’ lamb tied and stuffed in plastic bag

Dying sheep in immigrant house

Evening Herald, 04/05/2006

An animal rescue worker found a live “sacrificial lamb” bound with twine and stuffed into a black plastic bag when he called to investigate a Dublin house.

  Fifteen children sang at the top of their voices and sat on top of the bag which contained a badly injured sheep, to avoid it being detected.

  However, DSPCA driver Tony McGovern found the bad containing the sheep being hidden under laundry.

  The sheep’s spine was broken as a result of having its legs tied and being sat on by so many children.

  It had to be put to sleep shortly after it was rescued due to its injuries.

  It is believed the animal was brought to the home to be slaughtered for food or religious sacrifice.


Mr McGovern says the slaughtering of farm animals such as sheep, chickens and goats is growing in worrying numbers among the immigrant community.

  “This happens on a regular basis. It’s savagery of the highest form. The animals are slaughtered in the kitchen, the back garden or even the front garden. They mutilate them for food or religious beliefs and it’s not humane in any way. You need a slaughtering licence in Ireland to do that but they don’t.”

Two weeks ago, assisted by Tallaght gardai, Mr McGovern arrived at the scene to search the house.

  A resident on the Tallaght estate had witnessed the animal being dragged into the house.

  Tony explains: “I went upstairs and into the boxroom where there were about 15 minors singing a song in a foreign language and there seemed to be dirty laundry everywhere. I prodded the washing but there didn’t seem to b8e anything there so I moved to the next room but when there was nothing there either I came back to the box room. I pulled away the sheets and I found the sheep in a black bag and bound with baling twine around his four legs…the poor thin was suffocating.”

The animal was brought to the DSPCA shelter where it was later put to sleep because of its injuries.

  It remains unclear as to where the foreign nationals are getting these animals as all farm animals are required to be registered.

  Tony says: “Either they’re stealing them or they’re buying them from some farmer who shouldn’t be selling them. They would be tagged if they were stolen and this one had no sign of a tag so it’s a mystery really.”

  Tony, who runs the emergency line for the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says such instances are becoming all too common.


  “I watched a man who had 15 chickens in a box which would normally fit two, taking them out,0 burning them with cigarettes and spitting on them before choking them,” he says.

  “There were women out in the same garden with pots, plucking them and throwing them into the water. It’s hard to see that being done.”

The DSPCA has appealed to people not to sell animals that they suspect will be slaughtered in this manner.

  If people spot neighbours bringing home farmyard animals that appear to be for slaughter they should contact the DSPCA immediately on 01-4935502.

Wild birds caught by illegal trapping for trading as pets

Song-birds in good condition can command prices of up to £25 each

Irish Times, 02/08/1995

Wild song-birds, including goldfinches and bulfinches, are being illegally trapped in Wicklow and west Dublin for sale to avian enthusiasts and song-bird breeders. The Irish Times had learned that a number of individuals based in Tallaght and east Wicklow have already started to trap goldfic6hes for the pet trade.

  Trapping song-birds is illegal under the 1976 Wildlife Act. August traditionally signals the start of the illegal trapping season. Goldfinches are the most sought-after species for trapping, as birds in good condition can command prices of up to £25 each on the black market.

  Song-birds are trapped in two ways. The first, bird liming, involves placing a coat of bird lime, a glue-like substance on branches near a caged bird. The “caller”, as the caged bird is called, acts as a decoy to attract birds of similar species. When a wild bird lands on a branch coated in bird lime, it immediately gets stuck and is then captured by the trapper.

  The other method involves the use of specially designed trap cages. These are cages which have a holding compartment for a “caller” bird and a number of smaller spring-loaded trap cages. Trap cages are c6tivated when a bird lands on the “caller” bird’s cage. This traps the wild bird in a small compartment located on the top of the cage trap.

  A significant portion of wild song-birds die during capture and transportation from stress and handling. The life expectancy is very short as wild birds are not suited to captive lifestyles.

  Following capture, song-birds are laundered into the legal pet trade by placing closed bird rings on them. All native bird species sold in pet shops and at bird markets must have a closed bird ring on them. These are placed on captive-bred birds while still in the nest. As nestlings grow the ring becomes too small to remove over the foot. This ensures that all birds which have closed rings on their legs are captive bred.

  However, it has been learned that a small number of trappers are circumventing the Wildlife Act by putting closed-rings on wild caught birds.

  One trapper in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, told The Irish Times that by placing a closed metal bird ring on a hot nail, the ring could be enlarged and forced over a bird’s foot and on to its leg. When the ring cools it returns to its former size.

  Trapped birds are sold to pet shops and at bird markets. A small number are “legally” exported to Britain.

  Mr John Coveney, spokesman for the Irish WIldbird Conservancy, said the trapping of song-birds was not a major conservation problem. However, it had caused problems to species populations in local areas.

  The spokesman also called on the Government to introduce legislation to protect song-bird bird habitats and introduce more significant fines for those caught trapping wild birds.