IFA Dairy Chairman Stephen Arthur has said the recommendation to end the transport of unweaned calves would be devastating for the Irish dairy sector.
By a margin of one vote, the European Parliament’s Committee on Inquiry on the Protection of Animals During Transport (ANIT) Committee will bring forward recommendations to end the transport of unweaned calves to a plenary session of the European Parliament in January.
Under this recommendation, all calves would have to be more than five weeks of age prior to transport.
Stephen Arthur said the recommendation poses a significant threat to the trade of calves from Ireland to Europe.
“Our calves are highly sought after in the European market as they are more robust and healthier than calves from other European countries. Calf welfare remains of the utmost importance. However, these proposals are excessive and unnecessary given the very strong credentials of Irish calf exports,” he said.
In October, IFA visited the Netherlands and the feedback received was very positive on the health of exported Irish calves.
Intra-community trade is the cornerstone upon which the EU has been built on. Recommendations that disrupt the transport of animals and disrupt journey times leaves Ireland at a competitive disadvantage merely because of its geographical location in Europe.
“We cannot be treated unfairly. Compliance with enhanced regulations to improve conditions during transport would be a more practical solution than an outright ban,” he said.