Dáil Éireann - Volume 612 - 08 December, 2005
Written Answers. - Live Exports.
Mr. M. Brady Mr. M. Brady
103. Mr. M. Brady asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food her views on progress to recommence live sheep exports to the Continent. [38309/05]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: Trade in sheep between member states of the European Union is subject to the provisions of Council Directive 91/68/EEC as amended, as regards reinforced controls on the movement of sheep and goats.
These controls as they currently stand provide as a minimum requirement that breeding and fattening sheep must be certified as having been continuously resident on a holding for at least 30 days prior to export and that no sheep or goats had been introduced on to the holding in the 21 days prior to export. Slaughter sheep must also be certified as having been continuously resident on the holding of origin for at least 21 days prior to export and are also subject to a standstill period of 21 days prior to dispatch during which no sheep or goats have been introduced on to the holding of origin.
These controls were introduced in the aftermath of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and came into effect on 1 July 2004. There were certain difficulties with these certification requirements arising from the fact that the information the official veterinarian was being required to certify could only be truly known to the farmer. Accordingly I had my Department raise the matter with the European Commission in an effort to arrive at a certification procedure that best met the concerns of farmers and exporters, while, at the same time, protecting animal health. I am pleased that, in response to our approach, the European Commission submitted proposals to amend these certification requirements to allow the official veterinarian to issue certification based on a written declaration by the farmer or on an examination of the flock register and movement documents. The proposals providing for these new arrangements were agreed to unanimously by the standing committee on the food chain and animal health on 11 November 2005 and will apply from 15 February 2006. I am confident that they will resolve most of the outstanding difficulties with certification of exports of sheep to France and the United Kingdom.
While I am happy to facilitate live sheep exports in any way I can, I point out that securing outlets and the supply and availability of trans port for the carriage of livestock is of course a commercial matter not within the remit of my Department.
Dáil Éireann 612 Written Answers. Live Exports.