Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party have outlined their plans in relation to animal health and welfare.
In a detailed 14-page document, the political parties said they will:
- Introduce a TB 2030 Eradication strategy;
- Monitor emerging health and disease threats, and work with Animal Health Ireland to develop new programmes in partnership with farmers;
- Commence a 10-year renewal programme of the Regional Laboratory Network with a view to bringing existing facilities up-to-date and provide farmers with an enhanced level of customer service and diagnostic support;
- Fully implement the ‘One Health’ Strategy, placing a particular focus on the connections between human, animal and environmental health and encouraging the optimal use of animal health products.
The parties said they are committed to “working consistently” to improve animal welfare standards.
- Ensure the continued robust enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and review the sentencing regime underpinning the legislation;
- Immediately prioritise the drafting of legislation for the phasing out of fur-farming, publishing legislation in this area as soon as possible;
- Uphold the EU Pigs Directive;
- Support the development of high-welfare outdoor-reared pig and poultry sector, in addition to existing production systems;
- Ensure robust and consistent enforcement of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act;
- Support a doubling of the ex-gratia funding for animal welfare organisations within two years;
- Promote responsible pet ownership;
- Extend the badger vaccination programme nationwide and end badger culling as soon as possible, consistent with the best scientific and veterinary advice.
- Regulate the breeding, ownership, sale,or supply of exotic species.
- Prioritise equine welfare based on a robust traceability system, building on existing inspectorate supports across the country and ensuring a consistent approach to dealing with horse welfare issues across local authorities;
- Develop additional urban horse welfare programmes, working with local authorities, charities and community stakeholders to provide stabling facilities and educational programmes.
- Research potential into the utilisation of dual-purpose breeds, and the viability of ‘calf-at-foot’ dairy models on Irish dairy farms.
“We acknowledge the income pressure that beef farmers are under, and the role live exports play in price competition.”
“Recognising the importance of animal welfare, the new Government will provide additional resources to monitor welfare standards by increasing the veterinary presence available on all live export consignments to third countries.”
“We will vigorously pursue value-enhancing alternative market avenues.” the document stated.