Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has detailed the conditions for Irish breeding pigs that will be flown to China under the recently announced trade deal.

He said there are specific rules set out under the International Air Transport Association (IATA) live animals regulations.

Under these rules:

  • Pigs are transported in specially designed pens or containers appropriate to their size.
  • They are transported only in conditions where air quality, temperature and pressure can be maintained within an appropriate range during the entire journey.
  • Maximum loading densities for pigs are set which must not be exceeded, in order to protect their welfare.
  • Minister McConalogue said that vets from his Department will assess journey plans for the pigs and monitor their loading on to aircraft to ensure that welfare legislation is complied with.

    “The high genetic merit breeding pigs that will be transported to China will be transported with every possible measure to minimise any risk of injury and suffering,” he said in response to a parliamentary question from People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Paul Murphy.

    “The Department takes its responsibilities in the matters of regulating this trade, and of protecting animal welfare, very seriously - it exercises close oversight, and deploys considerable resources to the area of animal welfare in general, including in respect of animals being transported,” the Minister added.