William O’Keeffe, Cork exporter

William O’Keeffe exports calves from Cork predominantly for the Dutch market. On proposed transport measures, he said: “They’re looking for a problem that isn’t there.”

O’Keeffe said the proposals would “stop calf exports overnight, it’s that serious” and called on those in the EU to “get in touch with reality”.

Seamus Scallan, Irish Livestock Stakeholder Association welfare group chair

Seamus Scallan said he is “totally against calves being allowed out of Ireland at 14 days”.

“I agree with Brussels looking to move up the ages to 21 days at least but not to five weeks.”He insisted that Ireland is not exporting calves to the EU but trading with its EU partners and that any measures that prevent this are “against the free movement of goods, which Ireland is supposed to be part of”.

On Government engagement around the issue, he said: “They’re not sitting down with the right people and if calf exports stop, the whole economy of the dairy sector will fall down.”

Gary Fitzpatrick, Northern Ireland Calf Company procurement manager

Gary Fitzpatrick says a ban on calf exports from Ireland is “going to happen and the only question is whether it’ll be months or years from now”.

“If movement isn’t allowed for calves below 35 days, everyone knows it’s not going to work for the Dutch market. What are we going to do with the extra calves in Ireland?”

He said “there are options” which Government is aware of and described the “wouldn’t believe it until you see it” thrive he’s seen on Wagyu bulls out of Jersey cows.

He said the Government has to step in with grants for new calf-rearing systems.

Seamus McMenamin, Bord Bia livestock sector manager

?McMenamin outlined that “what we have now is a series of recommendations”.

“There will be an opportunity for amendments [to the ANIT recommendations] to be tabled when these files back before the EU Parliament in January 2022.” He said the proposals will then have to pass a full vote of the EU parliament and there “will probably be a couple of years” before they would be implemented.

He said Bord Bia is currently exploring additional markets for Irish weaned calves and that Ireland’s “strong reputation for providing high quality livestock” is supporting this process.

James Hallissey, JH Livestock Exports

The “science is there to show we are doing a good job” when it comes to the health and welfare of Irish calf exports, James Hallissey said.

He said January’s plenary session vote is “dangerous with the amount of Green MEPs in Europe”.

“I don’t think they realise what they’re doing.”

“These rules are under review, not because of the Irish but because of the lack of compliance elsewhere, predominantly from Eastern Europe.

“We’re being punished because of the rest.”