According to Billy Kelleher MEP, the ANIT committee has voted to ‘effectively’ ban the transport of unweaned calves from Ireland.
The Fianna Fáil representative has described this as a “shocking decision and an unmitigated disaster for Irish agriculture”.
His remarks come following a passage of a set of recommendations that would end the transport of unweaned animals from Ireland.
He stressed these measures will “kill off an industry that employs thousands of people”.
Kelleher is a full committee member and the spokesperson for his group, Renew Europe.
Kelleher spoke after alternative proposals from the ‘Green’ MEPs were passed by “the slimmest” of margins: 16-15.
He expects the committee to vote in favour of the full report and recommendations this evening (Thursday, December 2nd, 2021).
He said MEPs passed two amendments:
- A ban on the transport of pregnant animals in the last third of gestation;
- Time limits of two hours for unweaned animals older than 35 days. A ban on all transport under 35 days.
“Quite simply, if adopted by the full parliament and taken on board by the Commission when drawing up the new regulation, it would sound a death knell for thousands of jobs in rural Ireland.
“Throughout this process, I advocated and supported compromise positions that reflected the need to increase animal welfare standards during transport and the need to protect livelihoods in rural communities.
“The Green proposals have driven a coach and four through the very fabric of rural Ireland with these proposals.
He said if Irish farmers and transporters are banned from transporting calves to mainland Europe, it will be “an attack” on the European Single Market principles.
The issue will come up for debate next month at the full plenary session of the parliament.
He will table alternative proposals, which reflect his belief that it is possible to transport live animals and maintain their wellbeing.
“I do not believe it is an either-or scenario,” concluded the MEP.