Very shortly, around 1,500 young bulls are to be exported from Cork to Libya.
These unfortunate creatures will be loaded onto a ship, facing a 10-day journey through rough seas and for the greater majority of these hapless animals on this particular vessel, they will be on decks exposed to all the elements throughout their journey.
How can that be? What sort of a government willingly condones and even encourages such outrageous cruelty?
Animals sent to Libya not only face tremendous distress during the long journey but their final destination culminates in slaughter by the most inhumane and barbaric methods.
Here there is no stunning; tendons are slashed to restrict movement, throats are slit and animals hoisted up by one back leg.
All these horrors and more are inflicted whilst the terrified creature is still fully conscious.
Exporting live animals is bad enough but sending livestock to countries outside the EU who have absolutely no regard for animal welfare and whose slaughter methods are totally in breach of the rules of OIE is beyond the comprehension of normal beings.
I wonder if any of your readers have ever seen the graphic and truly shocking footage supplied by the well-respected animal welfare group Eyes on Animals. If not, I strongly urge them to look at their evidence online.
Perhaps even see for themselves one small part of this disgraceful trade — the beginning of the horror for young cattle.
Go to the Port of Cork around December 18/19 to see how the poor, terrified animals are shoved, pushed and hit with paddles to get them up the ramps.
Whilst we are celebrating Christmas with family and friends, these same animals will be suffering on the high seas; terrified, possibly injured or even dying - as happened with the shipment to Libya in February on this very same vessel.
And for what? Beef exports in 2017 were worth €2.5bn and live cattle exports €110m — that is only 4.6% of the industry. Ireland is already awash with cattle; slurry wagons are on the roads virtually everyday.
Here is an ecological disaster just waiting to happen and still the Government encourages more cattle to be bred.
There are many, many caring people in Ireland who want this vile trade stopped but the Government isn’t interested; indeed there are plans for even more exports in 2019 to Turkey and Egypt, where the unregulated slaughter methods are just as savage and inhumane.
This totally unacceptable treatment of animals brings shame on the Government for encouraging such horrendous cruelty and shame on Ireland for allowing it to happen.
P J Hemming