“Sensible and practical” responses are what is needed in the face of calf welfare issues during the live export process, according to MEP Seán Kelly.

The Ireland South MEP was responding to the recently reported incident of cruelty to calves at the French port of Cherbourg. The calves are believed to have originated in Ireland.

Speaking to AgriLand at a meeting of European election candidates, Kelly said that he believed the incident to be an isolated one, but that “occasional issues” that arise should be dealt with fully.

Kelly was in attendance at a question and answer-type conference of candidates for the Ireland South constituency. The meeting – held yesterday, Tuesday, May 7, in Kilkenny – was organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

“I think being sensible and practical, and looking at things that can actually help the situation, is what we have to do,” argued Kelly.

“Nobody, above all the farmer or exporter, would want to see anything happening that would cause distress to any animal,” he added.

He highlighted the importance of the live trade to Irish agriculture, and the importance of this being carried out to the “best possible standard”.

I hope it is an isolated incident, I expect it is. But even at that, we don’t want it repeated.

“Everybody can see that live exports are very important to the agricultural industry, especially here in Ireland. Everyone wants to have it done to the best possible standard,” he said.

“Those standards must be maintained, and that’s what everybody wants to see,” added Kelly.

Concluding, the MEP said: “If issues arise, then they obviously have to be dealt with to ensure [the standards] are correct for the future shipment of calves.”