RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 2

The issue of fur farming has always been a contentious one. This year the debate resurfaced when animal activists freed mink at a farm in Ardara, Co Donegal. From a cage of 5,000 mink, only 400 decided to make a break for freedom, with many of them returning for feeding time. Ella McSweeney meets representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service who have been tasked with recapturing the escaped mink before they wreak havoc on the local countryside. With fur farming set to be completely banned by 2012, Ella sees what happens in a normal day on a fur farm and investigates how the 2012 ban will affect the farmer, his family and their employees. She'll also speak to Green Party Senator Dan Boyle who was instrumental in introducing the ban.

Four years ago Declan and Emily Gardiner sold all their livestock and land and moved from Eyrecourt, Galway to live and farm in France with their three children. Part-time farmers at home, they'd often travelled through France on holidays and thought how great it would be to live there. With the price of land at home so high they decided to look abroad and found a fully stocked farm for sale in the Limousin region. In 2006 they made the big move to begin farming in France! Darragh Mc Cullough takes a trip to France over to see how they've been getting on with the language, the weather and living a new life abroad!

Helen Carroll meets the mother and son who claim that drinking their milk is a cure for insomnia. Mary Burns and her son Gerard, who make the famous Ardrahan Cheese, are milking their cows before daybreak to produce Lullaby Milk. At this time cows produce higher levels of melatonin which helps us sleep. Helen investigates to see if milking cows in the dark can really help humans get a better night's sleep.

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