Minister confirms 2,700 capacity at Cherbourg lairage facility

The smaller of the two lairage facilities at the French port of Cherbourg has been approved to take 2,700 calves by French veterinary authorities.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said that his department had received confirmation from the French authorities of the new capacity size.

A spokesperson for the minister explained: “This represents an extra 1,200 places over and above Pignet’s previous capacity of 1,500, which had been in place over the past year. From Friday, March 13, permanent approval has been granted for 2,700 calf places.

The other lairage, Qualivia, remains with 2,900 places, giving a total capacity in Cherbourg of 5,600 calves.

“This represents a significant increase in capacity for the Irish calf export sector,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson also addressed welfare issues around the live export of calves.

“A range of new welfare rules were introduced for Irish livestock exports on January 1, including new minimum space allowances for calves that provide better conditions for the animals than those laid down in EU regulations.

A study in the Netherlands showed that Dutch farms rearing Irish calves require 30% less antibiotic usage than Dutch farms rearing calves from Germany or even the Netherlands, reflecting the Irish calves’ superior health and welfare status even after their journey.

“The minister wishes to thank his department staff and their French counterparts for their efforts in securing this increased capacity,” the spokesperson concluded.