The Department of Agriculture has confirmed an investigation is under way after multiple dead dairy calves were reported to be found on a Limerick farm.

It is understood around 100 of the animals were found on the farm in the south of the county.

The expansion of the dairy sector has led to an increase in male calves, seen to be of little value to the industry.

Animal welfare group Ethical Farming Ireland said the reports are horrific and fuel serious concerns over calf welfare, especially in the dairy sector.

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) President Pat McCormack said that the association would await the full details before making a definitive statement, but that the regulations around animal welfare were stringent and, in the main, fully observed.

It was therefore important for the matter to be fully investigated in a proper context that takes account of all the circumstances.

Irish Farmers' Association Limerick County Chairman Sean Lavery said the vast majority of farmers look after their livestock responsibly and would not condone any mistreatment.