Greens want ban on 'unethical' live exports

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Live exports should be phased out due to their "unethical nature", Green Party agriculture spokesperson Pippa Hackett has said.

"Live exports are not the road we should be going down. It's very unethical, and it doesn't matter if it's calves or bulls," she told the Farming Independent.

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"Nobody can think it is ethical. We can't just wash our hands of the animals the moment they leave our shores. It needs to be phased out.

"We're exporting more than ever and prices are still on the floor. Prices are still depressed and it's damaging public perception of Irish agriculture, as we're only as good as our latest scandal."

And Ms Hackett says that reducing suckler cow numbers is not the solution to environmentally friendly farming if it will just mean the expansion of the dairy herd.

"The narrative of reducing cattle numbers is very divisive and not helpful. It would reduce emissions but the environment isn't all about emissions, it's about biodiversity and water quality too," she said.

"It's not fair to ask suckler farmers who have been farming all their life to stop doing what they have been doing for generations. It still has a role to play."

Ms Hackett believes Ireland should follow France's example of phasing out pesticides like glyphosate.

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"Farmers want to move away from high-input models. If it is banned, it's important that it isn't just replaced with other chemicals," she said.

"We've been the leader on so many things in Europe like the smoking ban, and could be leaders on pesticides and other farming policies but when it comes to farming, we are still quite conservative in our decision making."

Meanwhile, Ms Hackett says Green Party MEPs will be pushing for a review of the CAP 2020 reform proposals in the new European Parliament.

"Looking for a review should be viewed favourably, and not that the Greens are going to shut down farmer income," she said. "At the end of the day we are in an unprecedented era of climate change. We need something strong, we are facing significant fines and need to embrace challenges.

"We need to change the current model as it isn't working.

"I'd love to see tax-free status on all environmental schemes."

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