Bord Bia’s dairy technical advisory committee is expected to meet in the new year to begin discussions on any changes to the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) around a ban on calf slaughter.

Earlier this month, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) announced that the slaughter of calves at less than eight weeks of age will be banned from 2024.

A spokesperson for Bord Bia said it welcomes the industry’s plans to phase out the practice of sending calves under eight weeks for slaughter.

Any proposed changes to SDAS would be brought to the advisory committee, which is made up of industry stakeholders and experts including the IFA, the ICMSA, Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, ICOS and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Welcome move

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the Irish Farmers Journal the proposal to ban the slaughter of healthy bull calves was a move he welcomed.

He suggested that finding a solution to the problem of low-value bull calves is an issue for both the private sector and his Department.

“I think it’s an issue both of us have to be very cognisant of and it was good to see the move by the co-ops recently.

“I think that the step the co-ops made is welcome and certainly we would support them in that,” the minister said, adding that safeguarding calf welfare is “critical”.