Mart managers and breed societies stress ‘unworkable’ UK trade concern to minister

The Mart Managers of Ireland (MMI) and a number of cattle breed societies have called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to allow animals with export status to move direct to the UK.

The mart manager representative group received backing in writing from the Irish Charolais Cattle Society, the Irish Simmental Cattle Society and the Irish Limousin Cattle society in calling for a change to the current “completely unworkable” situation.

40-day residency

Under current rules, since Brexit came into full effect, a new 40-day export residency rule is in place for cattle going to the UK.

In a letter to Minister McConalogue, MMI said:

“MMI have had many calls over the last number of weeks from both marts and representatives from both cattle and sheep societies throughout the country.”

The group highlighted the breed societies’ worries, noting that they “outline serious concerns we all hold in relation to our UK-based customers and the important role they play in the trade for livestock throughout Ireland for commercial and pedigree cattle. Sheep sales are no different and may have an even bigger customer base from the UK”.

The MMI underlined a point made by the Irish Simmental Cattle Society that a record priced bull was sold in their sale in October past for €52,000 “was purchased by a UK customer but the under bidder on that animal was also UK based”.

“Direct access to mainland UK is a must for Irish farmers and we believe that a workable solution must be found whereby marts are allowed to continue to facilitate sales and animals with export status can move direct to the UK as was the case previous,” the mart organisation stressed.

“Both countries hold the highest of welfare standards and the situation being presented at present is completely unworkable and must be changed as a matter of urgency.”

‘Workable solutions’

One “workable solution” mooted by the Charolais society suggested that “marts would not actually count as a movement but as a facility to allow export eligible animals move direct to the UK from our sales”.

Meanwhile, the Limousin society suggested that an exemption from the 40-day post sale residency “should be provided to elite pedigree cattle closed sales where veterinary certification is provided in advance of the closed sale for all cattle presented on the day”.

Underlining the urgency of the situation, MMI said: “A lot of pedigree sales for both cattle and sheep will take place in the coming weeks. Marts are reporting a loss of UK buyers in commercial sales.

“This matter needs urgent attention and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days,” the mart managers association concluded.