The term ‘animal cruelty’ is a very emotive one and, no doubt, will jar with every farmer reading this article.

The scenes broadcast by the BBC earlier this week of footage shot on a UK dairy farm were truly shocking.

I was absolutely repulsed at the sight of grown men brutally kicking and beating mature dairy cows.

Anyone with even the slightest grain of humanity within them would have been horrified at what was caught on film.

And, of course, all of this will reflect so badly on the image of every dairy-farming business in the eyes of the general public.

Animal cruelty - call it out for what it is

As I understand it, the owner of the farm featured claimed he knew nothing of what was going on prior to the video coming to light.

Weak apologies of this nature don’t cut it for me. What does stand up is the old adage: ‘the buck stops here’.

In my opinion, the people featured in the video should be sacked instantly and then brought up on animal-cruelty charges.

In addition, all the animals should be taken off the farm in question and new homes found for them and that farmer should never be allowed to own livestock again.

Animal cruelty should be called out for what it is and farmers should be leading the charge to ensue this is always the case.

The footage given to the BBC was taken by a farm worker who was actually an undercover volunteer for an animal-welfare group.

And let’s be real here, none of this came about by accident. The guy who shot the damning video was placed on that farm for a particular reason.

Obviously, there had been some prior indications to the effect that the management standards practised on that unit were not up to scratch.

Could something like this ever happen here in Ireland? Of course it could.

Deep in our hearts, we all know what constitutes animal cruelty.

Rather than ramble on with a list of dos and dont’s, I would prefer to make the following statement: anyone who is not prepared to treat animals as pets or extensions of the family group should not be livestock farming!

It really is as simple as that.

For the record, dairy consumption trends have been rocketing up throughout the UK over recent months, and this is really good news for the Irish milk industry.

However, it wouldn’t take too many exposes of the type featured on the BCC earlier this week to put these trends into sharp reverse.