RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 11

Ear to the GroundEar to the Ground

This weeks Food Journey sees Ella Mc Sweeney hot on the trotters of pigs as she investigates their life and death. From piglet to pork, Ella follows each stage of life, from farm to sausage roll. A curiosity about the origins of our food and what exactly we are eating is at an all time high in Irish society and Ella is on a mission to de-mystify the Irish staple, ham.

Not too many people can claim to have changed an entire industry, but Dr Temple Grandin, renowned American animal scientist has. Her designs and systems for livestock handling have been adopted by farms, feedlots and abattoirs all over the world.

Helen Carroll meets this remarkable woman who was named among Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and has seen Clare Danes play her in a film of her life. She explains her techniques for herding and handling animals in a stress free way, and how her autism has given her unique insights into animal behaviour.

She argues that autistic children need to be integrated into everyday life and that they can contribute in many ways to society through their unique abilities, rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

Farmers the length and breadth of the country have been astounded by technology used by the governments Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS). The hi-tech cameras seem to know more about farmer's land than the farmers themselves. The accuracy of the cameras used for LPIS has found that over 5,000 farmers were inaccurate in their declarations of land to the Department of Agriculture. Many farmers are appealing the so-called "claw back" letters they have received, ordering them to repay payments received that they were not entitled to. Farmers insist that they were not being dishonest, merely that their maps are nowhere near as precise as the technology at the disposal of the department. Darragh Mc Cullough meets a Kilkenny farmer who is in the process of appealing the LPIS review of his land and witnesses first-hand the incredible technology.

Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ

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