Where is the animal welfare lobby when you really need it?

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November 1, 2021, 5:27 p.m.

Many Irish farmers view the animal welfare lobby as a totally anti-farming group, but is that really the case?

‘Save the suckler sector’ has been the clarion call of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and other agricultural organizations over the past year and more.

And I feel like that’s a phrase that could take on a lot more weight if the Irish government makes even the slightest move to introduce a ‘slaughter’ of farm animals as part of the country’s response to climate change. .

national herd

Now, I’m not inferring that a showdown is on the cards, by any means. But it’s a question that has been gaining ground in the public domain lately.

And, of course, the term cull does not simply refer to the culling of cows – dairy and suckler – that are long past their best before date.

No, we are also talking about the potential removal of young breeding animals that are in their prime with their most productive years ahead of them.

That’s it for the background. Meanwhile, Irish animal welfare organisations, which rank among the most high-profile groups on the planet, have not seen fit to get involved in the ‘slaughter’ debate. I wonder why?

Animal wellbeing

It strikes me that the premature – and totally unnecessary – death of a young dairy cow is as much a matter of welfare as the destruction of any other animal, wild or domestic.

Members of animal welfare groups do not hesitate to lash out around pig, poultry and other farms.

These actions result in nothing but destroying people’s livelihoods and increasing the stress levels of the animals they encounter during their so-called ‘protests’.

I sincerely believe that every animal has the right to be treated humanely during its lifetime. And cutting short the period of a farm animal’s productive life, in my view, is an extremely serious act with extremely strong welfare implications.

And let’s be clear about this, other EU countries to have already introduced the slaughter of animals for entirely environmental reasons, the Netherlands being an example.

Environnment management

I would be more than interested to hear the views of animal welfare groups on the possible use of animal culling as an environmental management tool.

The same people are more than happy to grab any microphones they can get their hands on when protesting against any type of wildlife killing.

The question is: would they be as eager to defend the interests of farm animals if it were to approve their premature death, as a form of response to the challenge of climate change?

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