Live-cattle export growth under threat from EU ban
Proposal would halt exports to countries that don't comply with European animal welfare standards
The EU is considering a proposal calling for a ban on live-animal exports to non-EU countries that fail to meet its animal welfare standards.
MEPs on the European Parliament's powerful agriculture committee will vote tomorrow on whether to include the ban in a report that is highly critical of EU efforts to improve conditions for animals that are transported both within and outside the bloc.
But Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness says an outright ban - supported by Green and socialist MEPs - is "contentious" and may not win the support of a majority in committee tomorrow.
The ban "would impact live exports from Ireland and remove an important market outlet and competition for beef farmers", Ms McGuinness told the Farming Independent. "Irish live exporters have invested heavily in trucks and ships, which are inspected by the Department of Agriculture to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards," she said.
Ireland exported 246,000 live animals in 2018, according to the IFA.
The majority were calves and weanlings going to Spain and the Netherlands.
The IFA wants to double live export numbers in 2019, and gain more access to markets in Turkey and North Africa.
IFA president Joe Healy said live exports are essential for price competition and he has called on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to resist any restrictions being imposed on the live trade.