Some 192 calf welfare inspections were carried out by the Department of Agriculture on the “prioritised” and “intensified” calf welfare inspection programme overseen during 2020.

Of these inspections, seven non-compliances were found, with verbal instructions issuing in seven cases and a statutory notice issued in one instance, a Department spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

County Cork saw the highest number of calf welfare inspections in 2020, with counties Limerick and Tipperary also having over 20 inspections.

Counties Dublin and Leitrim received no calf welfare inspections over this period.

“The Department carries out routine animal welfare inspections across different livestock farming systems and sectors each year, fulfilling statutory obligations and where necessary, responding to welfare concerns as they arise,” the Department said in a statement.

“From one year to another, the Department carries out intensified levels of inspections in varying sectors according to policy priorities and risk assessment,” it said.

Last year, a total of 24 routine calf welfare inspections were completed by the Department.