Live exports of animals down 25% last year compared to 2019

Live exports of animals were down 25% last year compared to 2019, according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon.

The minister of state was speaking in the Dáil earlier today (Wednesday, February 17) about Irish agri-food exports in general in 2020.

In his statement, Minister Heydon said: “Live exports of animals were down by 25% compared with 2019. The reduction in exports was due to a number of factors.

The peak time for exporting calves coincided with the start of the pandemic, resulting in much smaller numbers of calves being exported to continental Europe.

“Pig exports to Northern Ireland were down by about 80% and the export of purebred breeding horses around the world was down by about 20%, a significant impact on the thoroughbred breeding sector.”

Overall live animal exports were down from €455 million in 2019 to €340 million in 2020, the minister of state noted.

This impacted fish exports as well, as he explained: “Transport issues also impacted on fish exports. These factors resulted in live exports being down by 10% in 2020, to €521 million.”

Turning to agri-food exports in general, Minister Heydon said:

“The effects of the pandemic can be seen when examining the destinations of agrifood exports in 2020 with exports declining by 10% or more to those countries which suffered the most due to the pandemic, such as the USA, France, Italy, Belgium and Spain.”