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Next fortnight ‘crucial’ to protect live animal exports

The next fortnight is “crucial” in the campaign to protect Irish agriculture’s ability to transport and export live animals.

That is according to Fianna Fáil MEP and member of the Committee on Animal Transport, Billy Kelleher.

Kelleher spoke ahead of a crucial European Parliament debate and vote that he expects to take place in Strasbourg between January 17th and 20th.

The ANIT Committee’s report and recommendations from 2021 will go before MEPs for adoption.

Protect live exports 

In a statement, today (Friday, January 7th, 2022) ahead of the vote, the MEP said:

“Last month’s decision to adopt excessive and highly restrictive alternative proposals from the Left and Greens would, if implemented by the European Commission, sound a death knell for animal transport.”

He said that the following would “simply make it next to impossible” to export live animals from Ireland:

  • A ban on the transport of pregnant animals in the last third of gestation;
  • Also, a maximum journey time of two hours for unweaned animals over 35 days;
  • A complete ban for unweaned animals under 35 days.
Table original proposals

Kelleher confirmed that he voted against these proposals, and said he was the only MEP to vote against the final set of recommendations.

This month, he will table the original compromise proposals that are “forward-looking, pro-animal welfare yet realistic”.

They would allow the transport of animals, with “stronger” animal welfare standards, to continue.

Next week, he will start gathering enough signatures to allow him to table my amendments. “This will be a tough task, but I believe it is possible,” he remarked.

“During plenary week, I will seek to build a majority in Parliament that is both pro-animal welfare but also pro rural communities.”

“From the very beginning of this debate, I have repeatedly said that both positions can exist at the same time,” he concluded.

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