Farm-to-farm sales of calves under 10 days of age ‘should be prohibited’

Farm-to-farm sales of calves under 10 days of age should be prohibited, according to the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).

Under new regulations for livestock marts announced earlier this week by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, it was outlined that the sale of calves under 10 days old at marts will be prohibited from January 1, 2019, onwards – a measure designed to support animal health and welfare.

Reacting to the announcement, ICOS cautiously welcomed the introduction of new legislation for livestock marts.

Also Read: New regulations for livestock marts announced

The Animal Health and Welfare (Livestock Marts) Regulations 2018 is enacted under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and replaces the Livestock Marts Act 1967.

The minister said that the regulations modernise the laws relating to livestock marts, and require livestock marts to have a new licence prior to January 1, 2019.

Commenting on the regulations, ICOS national marts executive Ray Doyle said: “We have been working with the department, as have other industry stakeholders, in updating outdated aspects of the Livestock Marts Act 1967.

The department has given ICOS assurances on numerous occasions that legislation prohibiting the sale of calves will also be introduced for farm-to-farm sales.

“ICOS fully expects this to be the case and, provided this occurs, will support the introduction of new legislation.

“A situation cannot occur that causes any distortion to current trading practices,” he said.

Also included in the new regulations is the prohibition on possession of a stick around calves less than 42 days of age at a livestock mart.

It is hoped that this will encourage livestock marts to modernise droving behaviours to reduce stress in cattle presented at marts, the department added.

ICOS represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion.

These 130 co-operatives have approximately 150,000 individual members and they employ 12,000 people in Ireland, as well as a further 24,000 people overseas.