Department bans live exports to Italy due to hot weather

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a ban on live exports to Italy over the weekend due to an expected spike in temperatures there.

In a statement, the department said that in light of European heat forecasts, road transport of live ruminants to/through Italy is prohibited from 9:00am on Saturday, August 10, to Sunday, August 11, at 9:00pm.

The department also issued a ban on live exports to or through southern areas of France and north-east Spain, Aragon and Catalunya earlier this week, valid from yesterday until further notice. An update on this is expected later today.

For the rest of Europe, journeys must only be endorsed when the veterinary inspector is satisfied that animals will not be transported through areas with forecasts for temperatures of above 30°, for any part of the journey.

While a tolerance of up to 5° above that is allowed in the animal transport regulation for temperatures within vehicles, temperatures and relative humidity can be higher inside a trailer than outside, the authority warns.

The department quoted the European Commission as advising that “no long-distance transports should take place if temperatures are forecast to exceed 30°”.

In addition, exporters planning journeys that will pass through areas with ambient temperatures at time of transport of 27-30° are encouraged to adopt other measures to protect animal welfare, such as increasing the space allowance by at least 20% and/or using vehicles with fewer tiers to increase headroom.

It was highlighted that 30° is not a satisfactory temperature for transporting animals, but the extreme upper end of the permitted range; this is particularly so for animals from Ireland, compared to animals more acclimatised to hot weather such as those from southern European countries.

This notice does not affect the country-specific ban on road transport of all animals throughout July and August to North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia; this ban remains in place, the department added.

An update will be issued on Monday, August 12, before 1:00pm.