January 7, 2020
Ireland's Agriculture Minister dismisses call for livestock export ban
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed rejected Grace O'Sullivan, Green party MEP calls to ban livestock exports because of animal welfare issues, reported The Irish Times.
Calls for the ban have come after 14,000 sheep were killed when the vessel carrying the animals capsized in the Black Sea on its way to Saudi Arabia.
O'Sullivan said meat should be processed in Ireland for export, creating job opportunities in the country. O'Sullivan was elected to the European Parliament in May last year.
Minister Creed said the country's livestock exports are based on the highest welfare standards. He said according to Bord Bia, the Irish food board, 295,000 live cattle were exported last year compared to 243,000 in 2018. Calves make up 200,000 of 2019 exports.
Bord Bia estimates the Irish livestock export industry is worth €300 million (~US$335 million; €1 = US$1.12) last year. 233,000 animals were exported to continental European Union countries (90,000 to Spain, 84,000 to Netherlands, 30,000 to Italy and 8,000 to France), 38,000 were exported to the United Kingdom and 28,000 were exported to non-EU nations (11,000 to Libya, 10,000 to Turkey). Calves make up the majority of these exports.
Creed added that Ireland operates its livestock export industry to not only EU standards, but EU Plus standards as this export sector is important to Ireland's agri-food economy.
He said the government does not control welfare standards in non-EU nations because of jurisdictional reach. But, the government has contributed financially to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
He also said the government works with Libya and Turkey, OIE members and major export destinations for livestock from Ireland, to improve welfare standards and awareness.
- The Irish Times