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Almost 3,000 live cattle to be exported to Libya tomorrow

Animal rights groups have criticised the export but the department said it enforces a strict system of transport rules.
Feb 19th 2013, 2:09 PM 10,432 177

EXPORTERS WERE TODAY assembling some 2,900 cattle for the first live export to Libya in over a decade. The vessel will travel with the young bulls is expected to travel tomorrow from Waterford Port to Tripoli but could leave late tonight.

The ship had its final inspection yesterday and the Department of Agriculture said representatives are present at the locations where cattle are being assembled and checked prior to travelling to the boat. The department will also supervise the final loading, check stocking density and ventilation.

Animal rights groups have hit out at the plan with the Alliance for Animal Rights (AFAR) saying that when the cattle arrive in Libya they will be subject to “a host of new and frightening environments”.

“Unloading in overseas ports is stressful, with cattle forced to endure many new and/or frightening factors including; extremes of temperature, handling, noises, smells, and painful practices (e.g., tail-twisting, beating),” the group said. “Animals may be separated from their herd and will face these situations alone, often bellowing for their fellow herd members.”

In response to concern expressed for the animals, the department said:

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine enforces a strict system of transport rules in respect of both national and international journeys. The current Irish regulation in relation to the approval of ships for livestock transport sets a higher standard than that which applies in other EU Member States and this is justified not only on sound animal welfare reasons but also because it reflects the nature of the shipping routes from this island.

AFAR and Vegan Ireland will gather in Waterford Port for a candle-lit vigil in protest at the live export this evening.

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Michelle Hennessy

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