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‘Calf traders have to book a slot with shipping companies 6 months in advance’

The Irish Suckler Society has said that it wishes to know if the trading of calves from Ireland within the EU could be in jeopardy next spring.

The group issued a brief statement on the matter on Monday, September 21st, 2021.

Trading calves

A spokesperson said:

“Calf traders, who supply their customers in the EU have to book a slot with the shipping companies, which is needed six months in advance.”

“Because of a fear of a change in government policy of trading calves outside of Ireland, these calves could have to be kept in the country, which, in no doubt, will cause an animal welfare issue next spring if the extra market is lost.”

“The expansion of the dairy herd has been substantial since the quotas were lifted six years ago.”

The group claims that “calf housing is the last item on most farmer’s minds as they were moved before 21 days in most cases”.

“It is time that the milk processors take responsibility for the dairy byproduct and help alleviate the problem.”

“We joined the EU for free trade. Hopefully, it will continue with the free trade of calves within our member states,” the statement concluded.

Live exports

Earlier this year, we interviewed Seamus Scallon, who has been working in the livestock trade for the last fifty years.

He runs Wicklow Calf Company and is heavily involved in the Irish Livestock Stakeholders’ Association.

Wicklow Calf Company, which has 45 plus years of industry experience, has become one of Ireland’s largest calf farms.

The Wicklow-based firm has collection centres in Ireland, and export calves to Holland, Poland, Spain, and Italy. The company sells milk powder for a company in Holland that purchases calves from them.

Seamus believes if exports stopped tomorrow, “the cattle industry in Ireland is over”. He feels this would create no competition in the marketplace.

“If all calves were left in Ireland, there would be a serious welfare problem here, which has not been put into track since all the cow numbers have gone up.”

“There will be serious issues here with the welfare of the calves, and people will get nothing for their calves.”

“I believe that it would go back to 1974. People left calves in trailers and gave them away for free. It would be no good even if you could get €100 for each calf.”

You can read this interview in full.

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