Serious breaches of animal welfare laws have been uncovered at a number of Irish marts by an RTÉ Investigates programme. The programme detailed multiple breaches of animal welfare and animal handling rules at some marts, such as the use of sticks on young calves, calves being kicked, being pulled by their ears and tails, and thrown in to and out of trailers and trucks.

The RTÉ programme included footage filmed at Gortatlea Mart, Kanturk Mart, Bandon Mart, Castleisland Mart and Cahir Mart.

ICOS livestock and environmental services executive Ray Doyle stated in the programme that the footage he saw of marts was “terrible” and that there were “several” instances of illegal practices.

The RTÉ footage also included unidentified knackery operators appearing to agree to provide a "kill and collect" service for healthy calves.


RTÉ also detailed a journey in which a haulier who was transporting calves from Ireland to France, and on to Spain, did not adhere to the required rest and feed stops for calves. The footage was captured by RTÉ Investigates during the spring of 2023.


The Department of Agriculture has announced it has launched an investigation into the footage captured.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue strongly condemned the “shocking practices” which were aired.

“The footage shown by RTÉ represents the actions of a few. What we saw was utterly unacceptable, and in some instances was unlawful. My department has requested RTÉ provide it with all of the footage available, and any other information it has, so that it can investigate the matter fully and take appropriate action,” he said.