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Cruelty Charges in Limerick: Goose Plucker Faces Prosecution |

Cruelty Charges in Limerick: Goose Plucker Faces Prosecution

In a courtroom drama that unfolded in Limerick on Thursday, local resident Michael Ford, a seasoned goose plucker, found himself at the centre of a prosecution case. The case was led by the Limerick Branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The charges stem from an incident on July 2nd last year, where Ford allegedly engaged in the cruel and inhumane treatment of 24 live geese.

The case was brought before the County Limerick court, with P. J. Kelly presiding as the judge, alongside Mr K. B. Quin. J.P. Ford, a well-known figure in the community for his expertise in goose plucking, faces charges under the Protection of Animals Act. 1911. The act aims to safeguard animals from unnecessary suffering and cruelty.

During the proceedings, it was revealed that Ford had subjected the geese, owned by Mary Phoenix and conducted by Mr A. Blood-Smyth, to a form of mistreatment that went beyond the customary practice of goose plucking. While plucking geese is a traditional activity in various parts of Ireland, the court heard that the alleged actions on that day were deemed to be in violation of the law.

Mr W. K. Counihan, representing the prosecution, argued that the customary practice of plucking geese had largely ceased, with birds being plucked two or three times a year. The most egregious aspect of Ford’s alleged cruelty, according to the prosecution, was the tearing out of the wings of the geese.

Inspector Nolan, representing the Limerick Branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, took the stand as a witness. He testified that he had visited the scene of the incident, a farm in Ballysimon, on July 3rd, 2023. There, he observed three-year-old geese with breasts and backs stripped of feathers, allegedly as a result of Ford’s actions.

The defence argued that plucking geese was a longstanding tradition in the region, asserting that the practice was widespread and considered a part of the local culture. They claimed that Ford was merely following a common custom and had no intent to cause harm to the geese.

If convicted, Ford faces a maximum penalty of £25 under the Protection of Animals Act 1911. The case has sparked a debate about the ethical treatment of animals and the fine line between tradition and cruelty.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the community in Limerick watches closely, grappling with questions about the acceptable limits of cultural practices and the responsibilities individuals bear towards the welfare of animals in their care.

Dublin Daily Express – Friday 09 August 1912

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