The outcome of a series of votes on animal transport in the European Parliament today has been warmly welcomed by farm organisations and several Irish MEPs.

Now that some of the most restrictive measures have been voted down, one farm organisation is calling for future EU law on animal transport to focus on enforcement.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that the proposals from the parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals During Transport were “clearly unworkable from both the perspective of animal welfare and farming”.

Pat McCormack, the association’s president, said that he was “satisfied that sense and science had prevailed”.

The EU is likely to bring forward new legislation on animal transport next year that will be based, to a large degree, on the overall set of proposals – minus those that were voted down in the parliament today.

McCormack said that, when that happens, “equal enforcement of existing regulations across member states should be a priority before any new regulations are contemplated”.

“Any new framework must also acknowledge Ireland’s vulnerable position as the only sizeable island in the EU,” the ICMSA president stressed.

“Ireland performs strongly in terms of implementing and enforcing animal transport regulations.

“We are entitled to call for a more uniform enforcement of those existing regulations before we are bounced into unworkable and unnecessary new regulations, that would probably remain unenforced by those same states who do not enforce the present system,” McCormack concluded.

These sentiments were echoed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), who said that the passage of the amendments today “goes someway towards safeguarding competition in the cattle trade”.

Speaking in Strasbourg, where the European Parliament sits, IFA president Tim Cullinan commented: “The debate showed there is more to be done to convince legislators that we are meeting the highest standards.”

Cullinan also acknowledged the work done by several Irish MEPs in gathering support for the amendments to the proposals.

“Our calves are highly sought after in the European market. They are very robust and healthy, and thrive well. Our animal welfare and transport are of the highest standard, which is why there is such demand for our calves,” Cullinan concluded.