Gardai in Inishowen are investigating after a farmer found one of his three week-old calves with its tongue sliced off.
John Kelly, who has a farm between Moville and Greencastle told the ‘Journal’ said the tongue had been sliced off near the back of the mouth, where it meets the throat.
A vet confirmed the calf could not have bitten the tongue off itself. There was an absence of bite marks, which would have occurred had another animal done it. It was also a ‘clean slice,’ whereas if it had been bitten off by another animal, it more than likely would have been a jagged cut.
Mr Kelly said he has been left both shocked and heartbroken by what he described as a “random act of cruelty by some sick, sadistic person.”
He said he noticed something was wrong with the calf when he went to check on it at around 7am on Wednesday morning.
“It was in a calf pen, or a calf house as its sometimes called, where we have bedding and all in for them. I walked in and saw it had an awful lot of blood around the mouth. I started to wash its mouth, but it got very stressed and then so did its mother. So I let it back into the pen and I could see something was badly wrong when it tried to suckle. It couldn’t hold the teat in its mouth. I took it back out, went into the pen and found the tongue lying in the hay.”
Mr Kelly took the calf to the vet, who was “shocked.”
“We had to sedate the calf so the vet could work on it. So, you’d think that whoever did this would have had to restrain it to. The vet stitched it up and now we’re just doing what we can and hoping it’ll be ok. It just beggars belief that someone could do this.”
Mr Kelly said its “heartbreaking” watching the calf try to suckle and said both it and the mother get stressed.
“The jury is still out on whether its going to be ok. It was a big, healthy calf and we want to give it as best a chance as we can. It shouldn’t, hopefully, affect its ability to drink, so hopefully it will be able to do that. We just don’t know yet.”
Mr Kelly encouraged other farmers to “keep an eye out” for suspicious activity.
He said: “If you see anything at all, report it and let others know. I’d also encourage people to get CCTV installed. Never in a million years did we think something like this would happen. I finished up around 8 and was back in early in the morning, so it must have happened in the night.”