Implement existing regulations – ICMSA

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) president Pat McCormack said: “Ireland rates very highly in relation to implementing EU animal transport regulations and the focus should be on implementing existing regulations as opposed to introducing new ones.”

Given Ireland’s island status, McCormack highlighted that “we need to get our cattle to continental EU” and called for this to be considered.

“Almost no dairy cows are transported off the island of Ireland and typically the journey times for dairy cattle are extremely short.

"In addition, it is in the farmer’s interest that the animal remains healthy and injury-free during transport and Irish farmers are typically very careful in this regard.”

The ICMSA president described as “impractical” any move to increase the permitted age of export for calves to five weeks.

“It should be noted that the purchasers of Irish calves are very happy with the standard of Irish calves being delivered and this reflects the professionalism of Irish live exporters and the strict implementation of the rules by the Department,” he said.

Potential impact on climate targets – IFA

Any limitation on the live export trade will impact Irish agriculture’s ability to meet its climate targets, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) warned.

A spokesperson said: “A strong live export trade is essential for Irish agriculture in terms of price competition and alternative market outlets. As an island nation in the EU, Ireland must insist that we have full access to all markets for our livestock.

“Irish live exports operate to the highest animal welfare standards in the world. The Minister for Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture have made it clear that Ireland operates to the highest standards, not just EU standards, but EU-plus standards.”

The IFA suggested that the Commission’s legislative process will also be informed by other considerations including other scientific evidence, any economic and social impact assessment and the ANIT committee recommendations adopted by the European Parliament.

The spokesperson said that the IFA will be working with Ireland’s MEPs to “ensure a practical set of regulations that facilitate the live export trade”.

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