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Aktualisiert: 16. Juni 2022

The Green Party is and has always been opposed to live exports. This is not a secret; most people know this.

During the negotiations for this current government, back in the spring of 2020, the Green Party negotiating team caved in under intense pressure from the two larger parties; both FF and FG insisting that the live export trade would continue.

The Greens did manage to secure agreement on two issues related to live exports: an increased veterinary presence during shipments of live animals; and a pledge to pursue value-en

hancing alternatives to live exports.

Neither of the two measures outlined above have been implemented. Worse, and shamefully, a policy of expanding the live export trade to new markets has been vigorously pursued.

Since the formation of this government, 17 shipments of live animals have been sent to Libya and Jordan, only one of which had a vet on board, and that was only as far as Algeciras in Spain which was just part of the journey.

There have been two shipments to Jordan this year, and although this country is not listed as dangerous, no vet has accompanied those shipments either.

The second commitment referenced above has been similarly ignored. There has been no attempt made to pursue other outlets for cattle, value enhancing or otherwise. On the contrary, other markets in the Middle East and North Africa have been and continue to be pursued.

Jordan is one such new market with the first shipment departing Ireland on 23rd March this year. Another shipment arrived there on 19th May. It takes 16 days to get to Jordan, including a trip down the Suez Canal where temperatures and humidity are high. During the first journey, three young bulls died and a further 41 suffered from leg injuries and respiratory illness, according to the Irish campaign group, Ethical Farming Ireland. Despite the vessel having air conditioning, temperature and humidity increased steadily throughout the journey, and the animals on board will have suffered varying degrees of heat stress.

Jordan is a water-scarce country with no grazing and poor animal welfare standards, particularly at slaughter. It was 36° when the most recent shipment arrived there. How will Irish cattle, used to the cold and damp, cope with extreme heat and a dry, dusty environment? Video footage of slaughterhouses in Jordan obtained by Animals International show bulls being secured by ropes whilst their throats are slashed at, all in front of other animals and all whilst fully conscious.

It is too dangerous for animal welfare groups to conduct investigations in Libya but conditions will be similar, if not worse, than neighbouring countries and the sea journey is just as arduous.

It also appears that the live export of weanling bulls to Israel is imminent following a visit here from Israeli buyers. Israel is water-scarce, hot and dry with poor animal welfare standards and brutal slaughter methods. This will involve long sea journeys up to 16 days, and the weanlings being shipped out at just a few months old will suffer.

What is the Green Party is playing at? Have they fallen asleep? Have they given up on animals completely? It’s one thing to concede on live exports and other policy areas in order to secure a Climate Bill; it’s quite another thing to turn your back and let your coalition partners walk all over you.

The animal welfare commitments spelled out in the government’s Animal Welfare Strategy are meaningless when set against the suffering of these long-distance animals,. The Minister should honour the recognition of animal sentience expressed in his welfare strategy by declaring an end to this despicable trade. Instead, he hides behind it and the frankly bizarre mantra that Ireland has the highest animal welfare in the EU. Any welfare strategy is a farce as long as this unethical and cruel trade is not only permitted but encouraged.

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