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The appearance of a sheep and her new-born lambs on The Late Late Show last week generated much controversy . Sadly, as is usually the case when farm animal abuse is discussed, much of the coverage on mainstream and social media has turned into the facile ‘urban versus rural’ debate.
You wouldn’t need to be an animal behaviourist to know that the last place these lambs should have been last Friday night was a hot, brightly lit TV studio in Dublin 4. Welfare concerns about this newly developed machine aside, if the animals’ welfare had been considered at all, then surely their use to demonstrate this machine could have been filmed on the farm and then subsequently discussed on the show.
While I fully appreciate the upset and concern expressed by many people for those animals, the harsh reality is that pinning lambs in this device is nowhere near the worst husbandry technique employed by farmers who farm extensively. And that’s not to mention the methods used in the intensive farming systems used to produce pig meat, chicken meat, and eggs.
I can but imagine the uproar if The Late Late Show
were to broadcast footage of an intensive pig farm where thousands upon thousands of pigs are crammed into small pens for their short lives and where farrowing sows spend their lives confined in tiny crates unable to turn around lest they crush their piglets.
Or the huge broiler sheds containing tens of thousands of chickens who never see the light of day and are unable to fulfil any of their basic behavioural needs. Or a slaughter house where the terror of the animals lined up waiting to be killed is palpable.
The Irish Animal Welfare Forum would dearly love such footage to be broadcast on a prime time TV show such as the Late Late but it won’t be.
People who eat meat need to realise that its production entails suffering on a massive scale. There simply is no sugar coating this reality although the farming industry will try.
Irish Animal Welfare Forum
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