Bord Bia has said it strongly condemns the mistreatment of livestock, and especially young calves.
Bord Bia said it is in the process of adding new rules to the SDAS, which will ban farmers from sending calves under eight weeks to be slaughtered.
From 1 January 2024, it will be illegal to slaughter healthy calves at less than eight weeks of age. Any farmer who breaches the rule will be in breach of the assurance scheme.
Bord Bia said that where there are herd health issues, they will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
The criteria for the ban was approved this week.
The Irish Farmers Journal asked milk processors for their response to the footage.
Dairygold said it maintains a “stringent zero tolerance policy” regarding calf welfare and animal mistreatment and condemned any form of calf mistreatment or neglect.
“Dairygold has taken significant measures, including incorporating calf welfare compliance into our milk purchasing terms and conditions, to establish best practice in this area.”
Carbery unequivocally condemned any mistreatment of animals and any breach of animal welfare legislation.
“Our suppliers are aware that we expect the highest standards of welfare in terms of calf rearing, and the vast majority of farmers maintain these standards for calves on their farm.
“The abuses highlighted happened once the calves had left the care of the farmers. This is of course unacceptable, but farmers have limited control over the supply chain once it leaves their farms.”
Kerry Group condemns animal mistreatment
A spokesperson for Kerry Group condemned any mistreatment or neglect of animals. “Purchasing of milk by Kerry is predicated on milk supplier adherence to rigorous protocols and guidelines, including Kerry’s animal health and welfare policy, the ICOS calf welfare charter and Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council calf welfare guidelines for dairy herds.
A Lakeland spokesperson said: “All calves, regardless of their breed, have a value and a life. Our farm family suppliers are compassionate and caring for their herds. Indicative of this commitment at a co-op level.
From 1 January 2024, it will be illegal to slaughter healthy calves at less than eight weeks of age. Any farmer who breaches the rule will be in breach of the assurance scheme
"Lakeland Dairies has adopted industry-wide standards which now also form a condition of our comprehensive milk supply arrangement.”
Tirlán stated that its family farm milk suppliers are “deeply upset at the unacceptable instances of animal mistreatment depicted and feel that it is not representative of the high standards of animal care provided throughout the Irish dairy sector”.
Under its milk purchasing policy, Tirlán “requires all milk suppliers to comply with the ICOS calf welfare charter and reserves the right to inspect animals and facilities on supplying farms”.