ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said he is deeply alarmed at news that the ANIT Committee in the European Parliament (Committee of Inquiry into the Protection of Animals During Transport) has called for 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.
“This is an extreme position which, quite frankly, is 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. It is also 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.”
“The reality is that these rules are being dreamed up by those who do not understand livestock farming, and the fact is that these rules will create a lot more animal welfare issues. Farmers need to be able to sell animals at a time which is appropriate to their farming system. If you interfere with this, there are unintended consequences.”
“We need all Irish MEPs to get to work immediately in building alliances with MEPs from other countries to get a common sense approach. 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.”