Dutch rules threaten calf trade
Movement restrictions being imposed on Irish-born calves by Holland "seriously threatening the future of the trade", according to one of the leading Irish live exporters.
Wicklow Cattle Company boss, Seamus Scallan has called for immediate Government intervention to prevent the "collapse" of the live export trade for calves.
He demanded a level playing field within EU for Irish exporters.
"A lot of farmers are not aware of what is happening. I'm frightened that there is worse coming that will totally destroy the trade," he stressed.
Mr Scallan said that Irish exporters comply with the highest animal welfare regulations in the EU and the Agriculture Department have a good code of practice but "the Dutch are now operating their own rules" which will wreck the Irish trade.
"Under EU rules the calves are entitled to go to a resting point, stop for 12 hours, and legally drive for a further nine hours. The Dutch authorities are now insisting on a second stop - which is not an EU legal requirement - I can travel to Spain and don't have to stop - why is that?
"There is a different interpretation of the EU rules in Holland. If we are found in breach (of the Dutch imposed rules) there are heavy penalties - we cannot afford to pay on tight margins," he said.
Mr Scallan said they can only go to one "address in Holland" with a load as the Dutch have raised concerns about the TB status of the Irish calves and won't allow the truck to deliver to two addresses as previously was routine practice.