GARDAÍ HAVE joined the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in conducting an investigation in relation to the deaths of 400 bull calves on a farm in Limerick.
It is understood the bull calves were found in a decomposed state after they appear to have succumbed to suspected disease and malnutrition.
“An Garda Síochána are currently liaising with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,” a Garda spokesperson said.
While gardaí are now assisting in the investigation, a Garda spokesperson said the department is currently “the lead agency in this matter”.
The discovery was made following a complaint from a neighbour over a smell coming from the farm.
An ISPCA spokesperson said:
“The ISPCA was made aware of a situation allegedly involving a large number of dead calves on 29th August and has established that the matter is being dealt with by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and has offered its assistance to DAFM if required”.
Typically dairy bull calves are low value animals, with poor potential to fatten for the beef trade due to their dairy genetics. Roughly 200,000 of these types of calves are exported every year to veal farms in continental Europe while those that remain are sometimes sold for as little as €5 each.
“This goes to the heart of Ireland’s sustainability as a food-producing country and to our reputation in terms of animal welfare," said the Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday.
"It’s extremely important that we get to the bottom of this particular issue.
“It’s unacceptable and horrific and it ultimately damages that reputation that we have carefully built up as a country. The Government will take this very seriously and make sure no stone is left unturned in terms of pursuing the origins of this and who is responsible because it goes to the very heart of our efforts as a country, a green country with sustainable production methods that this needs to stop.”