Live exports were back in the spotlight for at the latest meeting of the 27 EU agriculture and fisheries ministers who gathered for their first meeting of 2023 this week under the Swedish presidency.

On the agenda was a discussion of the paper on the revision of proposed animal transport legislation, presented by Portugal and supported by nine other member states, calling against a proposed ban on transport to third countries.

In the paper, 10 member states – Portugal, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Spain, Hungary and Cyprus – outlined their opposition to an outright ban on the transport of animals from the EU to third countries.

They outlined the important role that live exports play in many countries and the impact an outright ban could have on trade.

Many countries acknowledged that changes were needed but an outright ban was not necessary.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the meeting that Irish legislation already goes beyond EU live export rules.

The Netherlands put forward an argument in favour of an outright ban on live exports. Germany, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg also agreed with the Netherlands’ stance.