DEAR SIR: As a private veterinary practitioner, I have been involved in the investigation at Dan Brennan’s farm since 2005 and I would like to add a few points to Mr Dempsey’s article in your paper.
During all the years of the investigation, the one thing that was always ruled out by the State agencies was pollution.
They always looked at the farmer’s practices when the people working for Dan Brennan believed it was pollution and where it came from.
Teagasc undertook a feeding trial in 2005, which included a pen of 10 bullocks sourced outside the farm.
They were dosed and vaccinated before arrival and fed and weighed by Teagasc employees. They were targeted to put on 1kg/day.
The first 47 days saw them gain 0.66kg/day, the next 28 days saw a gain of 0.33kg/day and the last 33 days saw a loss of 0.48kg/day. The explanation for the weight loss by the Department of Agriculture was that it was a mystery.
A second 16-month feeding trial was undertaken by the veterinary college in 2007. The local brick factory was open for 10 months of the trial. The veterinary college report said: “The average daily gain while the brick factory was open was 0.21kg/day compared to 0.78kg/day when it was closed.”
The blood cadmium levels soared at times during the trial and were associated with periods of weight loss in the cattle.
Cadmium is a heavy metal found in the shale that vaporises when heated to a high degree. It is a very poisonous substance that affects the endocrine system in the body. That destroys the ability of the cells to maintain internal equilibrium and virtually wipes out the immune system. We had a number of post-mortems carried out and the results were horrific. Growth hormones were only 50% of normal rates and the interference with bone development was shocking. The vertebrae could be cut with a knife and bone was being formed in the arteries, lungs and bladder. The animals suffered so much in their young life and the Department of Agriculture preach about animal welfare.
The Brennan family has been let down by the Department of Agriculture and the EPA. We should indeed have an inquiry, but there will be no hope of change until people are held accountable for their actions or their inactions.