A delegation from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) led by President Tim Cullinan is in Strasbourg today (Wednesday 19 January) and tomorrow, ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into the Protection animals during transport (ANIT).
The committee proposed several changes, including: A ban on transporting pregnant females in the last third of gestation; a maximum travel time of two hours for unweaned animals over 35 days old; and a total ban for unweaned animals less than 35 days old.
Tim Cullinan said: “Our calves are highly sought after in the European market. They are very hardy and healthy, and are thriving well.
“Our animal welfare and transportation are of the highest standard, which is why there is such demand for our calves.”
The chairman of the farm organization said farmers expect Irish MEPs to support the amendments proposed by MEP Billy Kelleher, on behalf of the Renew Europe group, which have also been proposed by the EPP political groups and S&D.
Kelleher advocates “veterinary inspection for the entire journey and when the animals arrive in Cherbourg there should be appropriate supervision to ensure the animals are well cared for and have a rest period before they move on to d ‘other countries of the European Union’. [EU]”.
Impact of animal transport proposals on the export industry
IFA breeding committee chairman Brendan Golden, who is also in Strasbourg, said the recommendations of the ANIT committee could have a big impact on competitive trade in Ireland, including the movement of animals in young, which he says are a key trade for farmers and markets.
Golden said this approach is not acceptable and must be rejected by MEPs when they vote in parliament tomorrow (Thursday 20 January).
He said Ireland’s “unique island status” must also be recognized in all proposals to ensure Irish farmers continue to have unfettered access to the single market.
“Irish farmers support and implement the highest welfare standards in the world, and this includes the strictly controlled transport of animals. Seeking to change the rules because other countries are not implementing them is not acceptable,” Golden concluded.