ICMSA: Science not sentiment must decide animal transport regulations

Commenting on the report produced by the ANIT Committee in the European Parliament, the President of ICMSA said that while respecting the right of the Committee to set out its view on animal transport, it is essential that decisions taken in relation to animal transport legislation have a strong scientific basis and are not based on sentiment or pre-defined political views

“Farmers accept the need for strong animal welfare legislation, but that will have to be based on science and veterinary advice. We’re not going to accept people with pre-defined views and with little or no understanding of farming proposing legislation based on sentiment, not science, that will seriously and negatively impact Irish farmers here in the only food-producing island in the EU,” said Mr. McCormack.

The ICMSA President pointed out that animal transport is already “hugely regulated and the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine places a very strong emphasis on compliance”.

He also said that live exporters have invested heavily in state-of-the-art facilities with a strong emphasis on animal welfare and operate very professional businesses to a high standard. Live exports were hugely important to Irish farmers and played a central role in providing competition for cattle. It was supremely important that Ireland was not disadvantaged given our off-shore position relative to our main markets in the EU.

“The reality is that some members of the ANIT Committee joined the Committee with a pre-defined view and with the intention of stopping live exports. We are not convinced that they even want to hear scientific evidence – much less take it into consideration. We are even less convinced that they understand the potential consequences of their proposals for the trade in food products.

“As its stands, it is likely that the EU Commission will bring forward proposals will in 2023 and that body, together with the EU Council and EU Parliament, have to make any decision based on the science and the full economic and agricultural consequences of their proposal – both predictable and unintended,” he said.

The ICMSA President said that Ireland has a strong record on live exports and the actions of a few in other EU countries should not lead to unfair and unscientific regulation being imposed on Ireland. He said that cattle can be traded safely within defined regulations and this should be the objective of the EU when these new regulation are examined, drafted and proposed.