WARNING: Video contains distressing images
The Green Party has claimed that live export of cattle is unethical and called for trade to be banned.
The call comes following footage was released of cruel treatment of Irish calves in a French lairage.
The Green Party’s Spokesperson on Agriculture and Animal Welfare, Pippa Hackett said live export is a dirty word in Irish agriculture, and the vast majority of consumers, and many farmers, are uncomfortable with what she said was an unethical trade.
"Live export will only ever be as good as its latest controversy, and there have been many reported breaches in animal welfare legislation over the past number of years.
She claimed that farmers have been misled by their farm organisations that live exports are “vital” to keep a floor on the market, yet despite these claims, the beef price has never been worse," she said.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that "live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry.
"They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers," she said.
Minister Creed condemned alleged mistreatment of Irish calves, in footage that is circulating online.
Footage emerged that claims to show Irish calves being shipped between Ireland and the Netherlands and the mistreatment of calves.
According to the activist group who shot the footage, the journey, which it says took more than 50 hours - sees the calves are unloaded in Tollevast, near Cherbourg, to be fed and rested.
The Minister has condemned any ill treatment of livestock and said he would urge any persons who have direct knowledge or evidence of breaches of animal welfare to report it directly to the relevant Authorities without any delay.