Video: Army gun down 'wild' cattle on farm
BANKRUPTCY officials said the decision to shoot dead five cattle on a Co Monaghan farm was “reluctantly” taken to prevent the spread of TB in local livestock and for public safety.
Images have emerged from the farm that show army marksmen in the fields and heifers lying shot dead on the grassland, with blood seeping out of wounds.
Chris Lehane, the bankruptcy official assignee, moved to stress all other possibilities were “exhausted” before the cull was carried out with the co-operation of gardai and the Defence Forces.
WARNING: DISTRESSING FOOTAGE
“I have a duty to recover value from assets of bankruptcy estates and it is clearly not in my interests to kill cattle, nor would I do it, without firstly having exhausted every other possible avenue open to me to resolve the problem,” he said.
Mr Lehane said the farm has been visited over several weeks with extensive TB testing carried out with the Department of Agriculture.
“The results of those tests proved positive in the herd, greatly restricting what I could do with the animals,” he said.
However, the Co Monaghan farmer, who faces bankruptcy proceedings, has stated he was not informed that the cattle had TB.
“We’ve never seen any documentation or paper work saying that our animals tested positive for TB,” said John Hoey.
“A herd with TB could be one animal, it could be 20, it could be 50… it could be none.
“These five animals should have been captured and tested them rather than being mowed down in the field.”
Mr Hoey said that three of the heifers were “gunned down” outside his home after they ran towards the farm house while being shot at.
“I could hear the shooting from my bedroom and I ran out and tried to save them… the last animal dropped down dead in front of me.”
Mr Lehane said he had tried to take the cattle off the farm with experienced cattle assistants and it had on some occasions been carried out successfully.
However, he said at times it proved more difficult as the “cattle were in large fields and were wild and dangerous.”
He alleged the animals were “wandering over the roads endangering the local community, road users and the cattle” and removal of the remaining five cattle was not possible due to “security issues”.
“In the interests of the cattle, public safety of the local community and to prevent the spread of TB in local livestock, the decision was very reluctantly made by me following consultation with and approval of, the Department of Agricultural Officials; with whom I have been working closely at all times over many weeks and with cooperation of An
Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces to carry out the cull. It was carried out by trained members of the Defence Forces in a controlled environment,” he stated.
Both the gardai and the Defence Forces stated it was a matter for the Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture said in a statement to Independent.ie; "On Tuesday 5th July 2016 the Defence Forces carried out the humane destruction of five animals on a farm in Co. Monaghan due to a significant concern for public safety.
"This operation was carried out at the request of the official assignee responsible for the herd, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine and the Defence forces, in keeping with official protocol.
"The carcasses were removed and excluded from the food chain."