MEP's want EU countries to move away from live exports (Irish farmers hope for increase)
- More unannounced and risk-based checks and tougher penalties for offenders
- Minimise transport time and transport carcasses rather than live animals
- Better enforcement of existing rules, with the help of new technology
The EU and its member states must develop a strategy to shift from live animal transport to transport of meat-and-carcass and germinal products, when possible, the European Parliament said on Thursday.
It also said Member States must better enforce existing rules on protecting transported animals and penalise all offenders.
In a resolution, adopted by 411 votes in favour to 43 against, with 110 abstentions, MEPs renewed Parliament’s 2012 call for a strong and uniform enforcement of the 2005 EU law on protecting transported animals, currently poorly applied in some EU states.
The EU Commission should impose penalties on member states failing to apply EU rules correctly, MEPs say. EU states should prosecute breaches with effective and harmonised penalties, including confiscating vehicles and compulsory retraining for staff.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry playing a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers.
Live exports of cattle increased by 30% over 2017, to 246,000 head. This change was driven by a significant increase in exports to other EU countries. Calf exports increased significantly.
Irish farmers have said a strong live export trade is absolutely essential for price competition in the cattle trade and for providing major market outlets, especially for calves and weanlings.
IFA President, Joe Healy said the exporters highlighted a number of key issues for the live trade which must be addressed by Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture.