Live animal exports

 

Sir, – I write in support of Grace O’Sullivan MEP’s call for the ban of live exports from Ireland (“Creed rejects call for ban on live animal exports”, News, December 29th).

The suffering of animals exported, often tiny calves, on long sea journeys, to then meet a death that in most cases is cruel and painful in the extreme, is a scandal which desperately needs looking at. If these animals were domestic pets, we would be up in arms about the inhumanity of their treatment, but because they are farm animals, for some reason their welfare and their pain are discounted.

Most farmers in this country care greatly for their animals, and increasingly the public care about how animals are treated, and in what conditions the animals which are the source of the meat or dairy products they are eating are reared and killed.

We could begin to lead the way in promoting change in many areas of agriculture, but it would be a good beginning to ban live exports completely, and slaughter our beautiful grass-fed animals here, where we can see that they are treated with some degree of respect, and where they will not be subject to long and inevitably cruel and terrifying truck and sea journeys . – Yours, etc

JANE KILLINGBECK,

One Spirit Interfaith

Minister,

Bandon,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Ger Brown (Letters, January 3rd) writes compassionately about the cruel practice of live animal exports, praising Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan ,who has called for this barbaric trade to end.

Your letter writer signs off by asking, “If New Zealand, a country of similar size and farming interests to ourselves, banned live exports, why can’t we do likewise?”

The short answer to this question is because – unlike New Zealand – we are members of the European Union. Green MEPs can posture as much as they like in the ineffectual talking shop of the European Parliament but given that MEPs can effectively propose no legislation, there is little more they can do.

Under the rules of the EU single market, which guarantees the free movement of goods, it is not possible for any member state to ban live animal exports.

Boris Johnson has pledged to end this inhumane practise once the UK finally leaves the EU at the end of the month. The EU may, of course, attempt to hamper the UK prime minister in achieving this as part of the subsequent trade talks but, in theory at least, once out of the EU, the UK can move to ban “this unethical trade”.

If Green MEPs like Grace O’Sullivan really wish to end the live transport of animals abroad (and the overfishing of our waters), then perhaps they need to campaign for Ireland to also leave the European Union?

The live export of pigs will be assisted by those same animals flying, however, before we see that happening. – Yours, etc,

SIMON O’NEILL,

Dublin 3.