RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 3

Ear to the Ground
Ear to the Ground

Most people would balk at the idea of leaving ¤1,000 sitting in the middle of their garden, but for most farmers and rural dwellers this is effectively what they are doing when they fill their diesel tanks for the winter. The theft of oil and diesel has skyrocketed over the last number of months, due to increasing fuel prices and last year's harsh winter. Shocking statistics that the Gardaí found for Ear to the Ground show that there have already been 700 reported incidents of diesel theft, a 20% increase on last year, and we haven't even hit the winter yet. Farmers are spending anything up to ¤2,000 filling their tanks, which they have to leave in the yard. Darragh McCullough investigates this vast increase in diesel theft and asks: is there any way to protect your tank?

With 25% of children and 33% of Irish adults considered obese, a new focus has been put on television advertisements and their contribution to this epidemic. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland recently tabled a proposal that would see cheese advertisements treated in the same way as junk foods, such as confectionery, crisps or sugary soft drinks. Going by their guidelines, a diet cola drink would be considered healthier for a child than some cheddar cheese. However, the latest idea to help fight childhood obesity has been met by much opposition from the farming lobby and the cheese processing industry. Helen Carroll investigates both sides of the argument and assesses the impact these proposals could have for cheese adverts on our TV screens.

For many the mere thought of eating a cousin of that famous doe-eyed deer would be too much to bear, but venison is increasingly to be found on menus countrywide. Venison may not be our top red meat choice, but it is fast becoming more and more popular as a low cholesterol, low fat meat, and the O'Hara family of Coopershill in Sligo are cashing in on this trend. The focus of the operation is local as the 250 deer roam the fields and are then selected for their tenderness and killed by a local craft butcher. The family sell the venison in their country house hotel and directly from the farm to the local public. Everything from venison sausages to smoked venison haunch are among the products on offer and they have even won the family an Irish Food Writers Award for innovation.

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