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Saturday 22 September 2018

Stena Line and Irish Ferries targeted in animal rights group bid to halt ‘vital’ live exports

Irish Ferries - W. B. Yeats
Irish Ferries - W. B. Yeats
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Animal rights Group Compassion in World Farming Ireland is to target key ferry operators in their latest bid to halt live exports.

The group is to target Niclas Martensson CEO of Stena Line and Eamonn Rothwell CEO of Irish Ferries Limited with a petition signed by 4,000 people.

In the petition the Group call on Stena Line and Irish Ferries to stop what they describe as ‘profiting from this inhumane industry’ by allowing their ferries to carry young calves and cattle destined for fattening and slaughter on the continent.

The live export trade is generally seen in the farming community as vital in stimulating price competition and providing an alternative market outlet for farmers.

Indeed the Minister for Agriculture, Michael has said the ongoing search for new third country markets is a priority for his Department, particularly in the context of Brexit.

The Minister has said that his Department attaches the highest significance to animal welfare in the context of the live export trade.

“I have met all of the key players in the industry and emphasised to them the fact that its continued existence is contingent on their continued commitment to the highest standards.

“We are involved in the inspection of cattle as they are loaded for departure on boats and, from time to time, we send departmental officials to travel with those cattle to conduct informal inspections.

“We place an enormous emphasis on welfare because of the significance of the trade to the beef industry and, in particular, to Irish farmers, and we will continue to insist on the highest standards.

“It is important to note that our animal welfare standards do not simply meet the EU standard but are, in fact, higher than the minimum EU requirement. We place such a level of significance on it that we have higher standards than those required,” he said recently.

It comes as recent investigation by animal rights group Eyes on Animals on a number of transporters from different countries leaving Rosslare port.

The journeys took place on March 13 when two teams from Eyes on Animals inspected calf trucks leaving Rosslare Port and heading to Cherbourg Port via the Stena Roll-on Roll-off ferry service.

The Group claimed the ferry journey took 19 hours in total (including a 1.5 hour delay).

It also said that at least six of the calf trucks that came off the Stena Carrier did not stop at the first available control post, to unload the calves as they should, according to the EU regulations.

In the Dail, last week Minister Creed said in relation to the Irish trucks involved, a thorough investigation has taken place into the circumstances of the journeys undertaken. This was carried out in conjunction with the French authorities and penalties for non compliance were applied, he said.

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