IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the IFA has written to Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith outlining the importance of the live export trade and demanding that Ireland strongly resists any EU restrictions on the live export trade and marts over the 30 day TB rules.
Michael Doran said “The live export trade plays a crucially important role in providing cattle price competition and market outlets for Irish cattle. The live trade is absolutely essential in the context of the selling structure in Ireland whereby the majority of younger cattle are sold through the marts. This system is very important to maximise open price competition and provide security of payment.”
The EU requirement that animals must have the 30 day pre-movement TB test and also meet a 30 day on-farm residence requirement before been exported would, if implemented, create a major problem for the live export trade and marts.
Animals sold in the mart that have been exported tested can be shipped without delay. Under the strict EU requirements, animals tested for export should not mix with non-export status animals when being sold in the mart. This would cause major problems for marts and exporters and is totally unacceptable.
The IFA has pointed out to Minister Smith that the EU has plans to consolidate and amend the entire EU animal health laws in 2011/12 including the EU Council Directive on Animal Health and Live Exports. Michael Doran said, “Ireland cannot accept any proposals or changes which would in any way negatively impact on the live export trade and marts.”
Michael Doran highlighted the fact that the live export trade is highly regulated and controlled by the Department of Agriculture. In addition, Ireland has an EU Commission approved TB programme in place as well as a robust traceability and animal movement system. He said this has proved to be very effective and the Department must convince the EU Commission that the current arrangements and controls are adequate.