A calf and several sheep and goats were shot and beheaded by trophy hunters in the Glosh Bog area of South Roscommon according to Billy Gallagher of Animal Haven Ireland.
An official from the Department of Agriculture visited the bog on Tuesday and reported that a number of livestock carcasses and remains were at the scene.
Following investigation with a number of sources in the region, the Irish Farmers Journal understands the animals were first “let off on the bog” by an individual who advertises and facilitates paid hunting exhibitions.
It is not clear whether the livestock were bought or owned by the individual ahead of being released on Glosh Bog. There have been no recent thefts reported to gardaí in the area.
The bog is west of Taghmaconnell, Co Roscommon, and near the Feevagh More locality.
An official from the Department of Agriculture visited the bog on Tuesday and reported that a number of livestock carcases and remains were at the scene.
Roscommon County Council has been notified of the decaying carcases and has been asked to remove them. It is understood this is not the first time the authority has removed carcases from the location, with a previous clean-up occurring last year.
Billy Gallagher from the Athlone branch of Animal Haven Ireland made initial calls for information about the livestock during an interview on Shannonside Radio on Monday.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Gallagher said that the individual operating such “trophy hunting exhibitions is known to gardaí” and promotes the “service” through groups and pages on Facebook.
The Irish Farmers Journal reviewed and monitored a number of groups on the social media website and elsewhere and found evidence of guided deer, goat and sheep trophy hunting tours with mainly European tourists.
This activity has traditionally involved the stalking and shooting of deer under license, particularly during the rutting season, with tourists often spending a number of days in remote areas elsewhere in Ireland.
It is understood the deer’s heads are removed and taken as trophies by those paying to partake in such hunting exhibitions, along with the venison.
When asked for comment on the shooting of sheep, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which awards hunting licenses, said it “issues licences relating to wildlife only, not domestic animals”.
It is not clear under which circumstances sheep are designated as wildlife and the Irish Farmers Journal has sought clarity on the matter from the Department of Agriculture.
Deer have traditionally been poached in this way at the Glosh Bog area, with Gallagher reporting “up to 100 carcase remains at varying stages of decay across the bog”. It is understood the discovery of the calf, sheep and goats last week was a first occurrence.
Gallagher said: “There’s what I would call pedigree sheep, the remains of a white calf and several goats all with their heads taken off them.
“They’re taking the heads as trophies, particularly with the goats. If it was just for ensuring they couldn’t be identified, they would have only cut the tags out of their ears.”
Gallagher’s animal welfare concerns withstanding, with the “level of carcases” dispersed across the bog, he said there is “real concern” about the spread of disease to farms in the area.
The NPWS is understood to “be aware of and notified of the issue”.
Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Roscommon chair Jim O’Connor said: “The individual responsible for this is sick in the head and needs professional help.”
Walkers in the area are asked to stay away from any animal remains and to report them to local gardaí. Farmers are encouraged to be vigilant for livestock theft.