Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Dáil Debates

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine his plans to ensure that the 2015 ruling of the European Court of Justice which ensures the welfare of animals during live export will be met throughout transport to destinations beyond EU borders.

REPLY

My Department implements stringent system of controls on the welfare of animals being exported, in particular through a comprehensive legislative framework relating to the transport of animals by sea (The Carriage of Livestock by Sea Regulations 2016 (S.I. 356 of 2016).  Ships must be approved by my Department in advance of exporting cattle  from Ireland.  Cattle being exported are monitored during the prescribed isolation period by Department Veterinary Inspectors and in some cases by Official Veterinarians from the importing countries. This is in addition to work carried out by Private Veterinary Practitioners who carry out the testing required prior to export to enable certification. Furthermore, animals are inspected and certified by Official Veterinarians from the Department with regard to their health status and fitness for travel.

Both veterinary staff from my Department and private veterinary practitioners have accompanied vessels on a number of  sailings and have expressed satisfaction in relation to the unloading arrangements observed in the third country.

My Department will continue to work closely with other EU Member States and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), with a view to improving animal welfare practices worldwide. For its part Ireland has committed to additional  allocation of €75,000 to the OIE in the period 2017-20 to support its activities aimed at enhancing animal welfare worldwide.

Later this month my Department will host a delegation of Turkish officials organised by the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission. The visit will provide an opportunity of sharing experience and knowledge in the spheres of animal health and welfare.