Issues arising over the eligibility of cattle for export in Irish marts

Issues over the eligibility of some cattle for export have recently arisen in Irish marts, ICOS National Marts has said.

Measures must be put in place to ensure that the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system is accurately indicating whether animals are eligible for export or not, it added.

Some problems arising with the system were outlined to representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by ICOS National Marts Executive Ray Doyle.

Doyle highlighted the issues at a meeting of the Farmers Charter Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise, Co. Laois today.

Cattle being presented for sale at marts currently indicate on the electronic display boards as ‘eligible for export’ in a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ display.

However, some farmers who recently bought or moved animals between herds, and who then brought these livestock for sale through the mart, have had their cattle indicated as eligible for export when they are not, according to ICOS National Marts.

The problem has only been identified after the sale, when exporters who purchased animals tried to export them and have had them rejected at the export assembly centres, it added.

This issue has reportedly resulted in “serious problems” for exporters, marts and farmers alike.

The criteria for live export within the EU requires that the animal must have a valid test for TB within the last 30 days and must also have been on its previous residence for 30 continuous days.

ICOS National Marts believes that the data feeding the display boards currently appears only to reflect the TB tests to date, and this does not correlate fully with up-to-date movement records.

The Department has been called upon by the ICOS National Marts Executive to ensure that all data, regarding the export eligibility of cattle, is clearly displayed at marts.

“The AIM system is clearly very important in ensuring full animal traceability and this, in turn, provides a necessary reassurance of origin and quality for consumers.

“However, AIM system is also a facilitator of trade – based on these same principles – and any anomalies in how export eligibility is identified must be ironed out,” he said.