The European Parliament will vote today (Thursday) on proposed changes to calf transport rules, which would have massive implications for Irish farmers and exporters.

Measures which could ultimately lead to a complete ban on the transport of unweaned animals under 35 days, would wipe out Ireland’s 150,000-head calf export trade, exporters have warned.

Irish MEPs are understood to have had significant influence in Brussels this week in a bid to get key amendments over the line.

Amendments including a rollback to 28 days rather than 35 for the calf transport ban are likely to split Parliament.

The proposals agreed to will then go to the European Commission and, if passed, could be implemented as early as 2024.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said he committed to retaining the export of live animals from Ireland as it is a crucial market and Ireland is best in class for producing top-quality animals, transported safely by skilled operators.