Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 22 May, 2003

Written Answers. - Live Exports.

  71. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the measures he has taken since 1 January 2003 to increase the live cattle trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13924/03]

  Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Our live export performance to date this year is very strong, and at 67,000 is more than double last year's performance for this stage of the year. Increased price competitiveness of Irish calves is reflected in these significantly higher levels of exports. Since the beginning of the year some 29,000 calves have been exported compared [731]to 4,300 in the same period last year. Most of these went to the Netherlands and Spain. The Lebanon remains our main third country market for finished cattle.

  In recognition of the importance of live exports to Irish agriculture and to the economy generally, the function of my Department is to ensure that the animal health and welfare conditions necessary to facilitate the live export trade are fully in place. In this regard Ireland's rules in relation to the transport of cattle by sea are among the most advanced in the world and require vessels intended to be used for this purpose to undergo an approval process involving detailed examination by an independent marine surveyor and a veterinary surgeon.

  Question No. 72 answered with Question No. 42.