SIR – Outside the Covid-19 news bubble other news items of interest are circulating. One of them is the live exports of livestock from Ireland to non-EU countries.
Recently an Irish exporting company shipped from Waterford port a consignment of 3,000 continental bulls to the Turkish market. It was due to arrive at the country on April 8th. While officials in Turkey have stopped issuing new licences for the importation of live cattle into the country, this shipment relates to an import licence drawn up before the importation of animals came to an end during the back end of last year.
The live export trade from Ireland to non-EU countries is once again been promoted as the saviour of the Irish livestock production industry. One-way tickets for Irish cattle are been booked as they set sail for countries like Algeria, Turkey, Libya and Egypt.
The journeys involved are too long to be able to guarantee a satisfactory level of animal welfare and the conditions for animals in destination countries are often far below the minimum legal standards required in Ireland.
A snapshot of what our cattle will endure can be found in the fact that most animals in the Middle East and North Africa are not stunned – rendered unconscious – before slaughter. Their throats are cut while they are fully conscious and they are left to bleed to death.
Live animal exports are unnecessary and cruel. It represents a historical attitude to animal welfare and a refusal by the farming community to embrace modern thinking both in terms of animal welfare and economic reality.
Given the inherent imposition of physical stress on animals combined with a disconnection with animal welfare standards in the countries receiving and processing our cattle, this vile trade should not be subscribed by the Irish farming community in their pursuit of short-term financial reward.
The Irish government needs to rethink giving governmental approval for live animal exports to the Middle East and North Africa.
Waterford Animal Concern,
Larchville, Church Road,