make known the following facts: (I) The regulations governing the shipment of all horses (working horses equally with bloodstock) from Ireland arc most rigorous and are the result of years of study by Irish Government veterinary experts who took the trouble to travel with shiploads of horses to Continental ports. (2) Every facility was given to societies interested in the protection of animals, especially to the Blue Cross. to study the conditions under which horses are loaded, shipped and unloaded. A Report of the Blue Cross and Our Dumb Friends' League commented as follows: (a) The inspection of horses for export at the Port of Dublin appeared to be strict and well-conducted; (b) No negligence was observed during loading, which was well-conducted, and there was no evidence of rough handling or serious suffering on board ship,
(3) The slaughter of horses in Ireland for export as dead meat is permitted and encouraged by the Government.
(4) Over a period of ten years, the average casualty rate among horses shipped to the Continent has been 0.33 per cent.
(5) Irish crews know more about horses than the crews of any other nation and have an excellent reputation for the care with which they look after them.
(6) The recent and very exceptional loss of horses on the "City of Waterford" has caused as much concern to the Irish Government as to anyone else and is the subject of a detailed inquiry. It is already clear that a very unusual combination of circumstances was responsible. If any further improvement in the regulations is shown to be necessary, it will be effected immediately.
(7) The Irish Government have no mercenary interest in this trade. What is at issue so far as they are concerned is the principle that it is legitimate to transport horses and other animals, as well as humans, by sea, subject to appropriate conditions. This principle is recognised in every country. When the "Princess Victoria" sank in a storm some years ago between Larne and Stranraer with great loss of life, it was not suggested that no ships should in future be allowed to carry people and livestock between those ports. What was done was to ascertain the reason for the calamity and to take precautions against a recurrence.
Incidentally, I think it is worth mentioning that. at the instance of the present Irish Minister for Agriculture, the Dail voted £2.000 early in 1959, to pay the import duty on a mobile clinic operated by the Blue Cross in !rebind, So much for the Irish Government's alleged indifference to the suffering of animals,
W. A. W. Sheldon, T.D.
The Diamond, Raphoe, Lifford, Co. Donegal.
your article " The Daily Mirror and the Irish Horses" one gets the impression that it was an instance of vulgar journalism for that paper to ask in gigantic letters that the Holy Father "denounce the wicked Irish horse trade."
Perhaps it was, but some among the cruelty-haters found comfort in the fact that such a popularmaybe vulgar-newspaper should give such striking expression to the humane spirit. Isn't the juxtaposition of the picture of a woman, "all legs and posterior" irrelevant -though certainly unfortunate?
While "The Daily Mirror" may have been the only journal to make a direct appeal to the Pope. the treatment of the Irish horses, both in sea transit and in the French abattoirs, was protested against under banner headlines by many other national newspapers or reputable standing.
Many will agree with you that "an error of judgment was made", and that the "City of Waterford" should not have put to sea when gales were predicted; and 'they may even agree with Mr. Stuart Gelder that religious issues are not in volved in the matter. But the matter goes far beyond the cruelty incidental to the hazards of sea travel in small ships.
The brutally callous conditions under which the Irish horses are transported overland. after arrival at a French port, and the incredibly inhumane circumstances in which the horses are slaughtered at the abattoirs-these things cannot be dismissed as "an error of judgment". Whether religious issues are involved or not, surely the Christian conscience is.
Some years ago the British Government introduced legislation prohibiting the export of horses whose low financial value made them suitable only for slaughter. It is believed that this action was the result of vigorously expressed public opinion about the suffering inevitable in this trade.
It is to be hoped that public opinion will continue to denounce the Irish trade in hdrses for slaughter in conditions that revolt the soul of man. Surely those who denounce all cruelty to animals are not likely to include those who "forget the greater cruelties to human beings".
4b, Holford Road, London, N.W.3
[ft was not an instance of vulgar journalism to appeal to the Pope; but it was hardly a compliment to the Pope to fuxtapose vulgarity, recently condemned by him in modern journalism, with such an appeal.-EDITOR, "C.H.''] SIR,-With reference to Jotter's
remarks in your issue of January 22, I was very interested in what Fr. Wrighton had to say about the treatment of animals. What a pity that he did not give examples to prove his claim!
I would like to know what he meant by civilisation in this context and if it has any connection with the practice of religion. The word seems to be used in many different senses.
We English are excessive lovers of animals, and I was always under the impression that this was due in a large measure to our materialistic outlook on life. I think it was the late Archbishop Williams of Birmingham who said there was a "tendency to-day to treat animals as human beings and human beings as animals",
Mgr. Ronald Knox was of the opinion that we were "incurably sentimental". and this may have bearing on the recent sensational and somewhat false reports on the shipment of horses.
[Fr. Wrighfon's 11 page pamphlet could probably he obtained from the National Anti-Vivisection Society, 27 Palace St., London,
SIR.-With reference to the Irish
horse trade, the sufferings endured by the horses were, no doubt, for the most part, caused by thoughtlessness, lack of foresight, and generally unfavourable circumstances rather than by deliberate cruelty.
The same cannot be said of the anguish inflicted on the unfortunate stag, fox, and other wild animals by men and women who do not disdain to place themselves on a level with hounds to pursue them; nor of the misery of countless small animals subjected to painful experiments.
If those who have rebuked the responsible parties in Dublin without moderation would now turn their attention to matters nearer home, they would soon find that all is not above reproach here. and that they could perhaps with benefit make use of the methods they think permissible for Eire to better the lot of many animals in their own country.