Ban on live trade out of EU would be ‘thin edge of the wedge’

Any plans by the EU to ban live exports to ‘third countries’ – markets outside the block – would be the “thin edge of the wedge” for NGOs looking to ban live trade outright.

That was the view of Ray Doyle – livestock services executive with the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS) – who argued that such laws would serve to embolden groups seeking to ban the trade altogether.

Doyle was speaking at a sitting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday (Tuesday, February 12).

The suggestion that the EU may ban the complete live transport of animals from the EU to third country markets needs to be resisted with the assistance of this committee, back up to the department and beyond in Europe.

“Because that’s the thin edge of the wedge as far as NGOs are concerned. If they got the banning of live transport of animals, from the EU to third countries, we lose our North African markets and the potential there,” he argued.

According to Doyle, the impetus for the groups involved in the effort to ban live exports comes from the current situation on the border between EU member state Bulgaria and ‘third country’ Turkey – many groups argue that animals are held up at this border in uncomfortable conditions.

The combination of Turkey, and their issues, and the control posts, have now led to the notion that we should simply ban all transport of live animals, all because one member of the EU has an internal difficulty in manning its own control points.

“I would contend that that would be the thin edge of the wedge, because these NGOs would be delighted…they could then go after banning live transport of animals full stop,” said Doyle.

“In their mind, they have this notion that it’s all integrated, and animals shouldn’t move unless it’s going direct to slaughter – or in their mind they don’t want them slaughtered at all,” he also claimed.