Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
388. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the recent video showing cruelty to young calves exported taking place in Cherbourg, France; and the steps he plans to take to prevent this occurring again. [20930/19]
I condemn in the strongest terms the ill treatment of calves highlighted in the video referred to. I am aware that an individual has been questioned in relation to the incident and that French authorities will decide how to prosecute the case in the coming weeks.
In relation to the export of live animals, Ireland applies strict controls in relation to welfare of animals including during transport and has procedures and checks in place to ensure compliance with relevant EU and national legislation.
Prior to export, all calves undergo an animal health and welfare check carried out by a Department Official Veterinarian to ensure that only fit and healthy calves are certified for export. All trucks are inspected and checked for water, spacing and other legislative requirements prior to departure. Irish legislation on sea transport is recognised by the European Commission as being among the most effective and stringent legislation in force on transport by sea. With regard to road transport, the Department does not approve journey logs from exporters for any live export where the destination country has an orange or red weather alert in place, or where a significant part of the transit route goes through an orange or red alert area. Where non-compliance is identified, appropriate remedial action is taken.
The export of calves is a legitimate trade which provides an important outlet for calves from the Irish dairy industry. The Department will continue to facilitate this trade, recognising its critical importance to the agri-sector, while ensuring that live animal exports meet the highest welfare standards.