'One slip' could be calamitous for important live export trade - Minister Creed warns
AGRICULTURE Minister Michael Creed warned “one slip” could be calamitous for the important live export trade.
The Cork minister said the Government was clear in its encouragement of live exports of cattle but the very highest standards of animal welfare must be maintained.
Mr Creed told farmers at the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ (ICSA) AGM in Portlaoise that he had been “accosted” at international level by people who have bought Irish calves that did not match to the expected level of breeding.
The ICSA’s former beef chairman Edmond Phelan called for the breed of the dam to be made mandatory on the animal’s card at the mart.
However, Mr Creed said there was a “big problem” ringside with the breed of cow at calf sales.
“Without full knowledge people are buying a bit of a pig in a poke,” he said, adding they were looking at the possibility of DNA testing the calves to assure buyers. However, he pointed out there was a 14-day turnaround for the results while calves could be sold on off farms after 10 days.
“We are looking to find out how to turn that around as swiftly as possible,” he said.
ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch said it was the “elephant in the room” and the impact of dairy expansion was being felt by beef farmers with the move toward Jersey/Kiwi crosses to deliver better fats and protein in their milk. “The elephant in the room is that no one wants those bobby calves,” he said, adding it was being looked at in a one-dimensional way over the production of fat and protein levels for milk producers.