The latest shocking pictures of animal neglect, on a farm in Co. Tyrone, have prompted the USPCA to call on the Government to introduce stiffer court penalties on offenders.
Images of dead and dying animals are becoming an all too frequent occurrence on Northern Ireland farms, and unless the courts are given the powers to hand out heavier sentences, this appalling practice of neglect will continue.
It should be pointed out that the vast majority of farmers in this country treat their animals with care and respect, but the tiny minority who are guilty of gross neglect and cruelty not only allow their animals to die a lingering death but get the farming community in general a bad name.
The USPCA and the veterinary profession witness these gruesome scenes at first hand, and they are best placed to advise government as to the best means of tackling what appears to be a growing problem.
If Stephen Philpott, of the USPCA is right in his assertion that the punishment does not fit the crime, then the law makers must sit up and take notice.
Farm and domestic animals do not have a voice in the face of this appalling cruelty - so if we humans don't vow to look after their interests, then who will?