Speaking at Waterford Port today (Tues), IFA President John Bryan welcomed the resumption of the live export trade to Libya. He said a strong live export trade is absolutely essential for the €2bn Irish beef and livestock sector in terms of cattle price competition, and to secure market outlets for the extra cattle in the system.
John Bryan said almost 3,000 cattle are set to sail on the Express 1 to Tripoli tomorrow. This is first shipment since 1995. “This is a significant development for the Irish livestock sector, with the resumption of live exports to north Africa for the first time in 18 years.”
Addressing the issue of animal welfare, the IFA President said Irish farmers comply with the highest animal welfare standards. “The greatest care is taken in the transport of animals under strict regulations set down by the EU, which are supervised by the Department of Agriculture.”
He said, “In a comprehensive scientific study published by Teagasc in 2010, the State research body concluded that the welfare of animals transported on the sea journey from Ireland to the Lebanon was not adversely affected”.
The IFA President said in addition to resuming the trade to North Africa and the Middle East for forward stores and adult stock, the target for 2013 should be to double the level of last year’s live exports to 300,000 head, including calves and weanlings. He said this would be in line with export levels during the years 2009 and 2010.
John Bryan said the experience from 2011 and 2012 has shown that the best outlet for male calves from the dairy herd is the live export trade in Holland and Belgium. He said the live export market for weanlings into Italy and Spain is critical to price competition for younger stock in the marts.
“The Department of Agriculture have made substantial progress on re-opening the live trade to Libya, Egypt and the Lebanon, with veterinary certificates now in place for all three markets for the first time since 1995.”