Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) president Dermot Kelleher has said that a ban on exports of calves under 35 days, a ban on the transport of animals in the third trimester of pregnancy and a two-hour time limit on the transport of unweaned animals over 35 days is "deeply alarming "and will cause "unintended consequences".
"Farmers need to be able to sell animals at a time which is appropriate to their farming system," he said.
Kelleher argued that it was "absurd" to suggest that any transport of cows in-calf within three months of calving should be banned.
"Many cows and in-calf heifers are sold in the final trimester for all sorts of reasons, such as herd dispersal, reducing numbers where the farmer doesn’t have sufficient accommodation or feed, or due simply to economic necessity."
Kelleher said that the rules are made by dreamers who do not understand livestock farming.
He said that it is an extreme position and a disaster for Ireland.
"I am calling on all our MEPs to use their positions to get this over-the-top position rolled back.
"Ireland is dependent on live exports, and this will be the end of exports of dairy calves," he said.
He said that MEPs need to build alliances with MEPs from other countries to get a common-sense approach on the matter.
"I am also calling on Minister McConalogue to speak to his counterparts on the EU farm council, in order to build a coalition to oppose this. "This is one of the biggest risks facing Irish farming ever to have come out of Brussels and we must use all means within our grasp to stop it," he concluded.