The idea of animal rights means many different things to many different people, but there is a consensus around wanton animal cruelty.
The industrialisation of farming makes it an ever more challenging issue.
This was reflected in the courts yesterday when Carlow farmer James Kavanagh lost an appeal against a three-year sentence for “shocking” levels of animal cruelty.
He was ordered to pay €35,000 towards the ISPCA’s costs last February and debarred from involvement with dogs or horses for life.
His wife, Jennifer, was given a suspended 12-month sentence after admitting 30 counts of allowing animal cruelty.
Yesterday’s appeal heard that 340 dogs and 11 horses had to be removed from Kavanagh’s premises over 11 days. In addition, 20 dogs and four horses had to be euthanised.
As is the way with these things, Kavanagh would have
had many warnings from Department of Agriculture officials before court action was initiated, so the sentence is entirely justified. Hopefully, it will encourage higher standards of animal welfare right across the country.