October 19th, 2017
Cattle exported to Turkey under Ireland’s plans to increase live animal exports will suffer “prolonged and painful death” by methods illegal in the EU, a leading animal rights group has said.
The comments from Animal International come in the wake of last week’s meeting in Ankara between the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Bord Bia and the Turkish Meat and Milk Board (ESK).
Following the meeting, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said that Ireland could supply up to 100,000 head of live cattle to meet Turkey’s annual import requirement of 500,000 cattle.
So far this year, 19,735 live cattle have been exported to Turkey, up from only 1,694 in 2016 as Ireland looks to increases its exports to non-EU markets.
Mr Woods said that the delegation discussed “all aspects of animal welfare” with veterinarians in the Department of Agriculture and that it was “clear that this is a very important issue for the Turkish authorities”.
“Turkey wants to develop the trade with Ireland and it is very important that this is fully facilitated in every way,” he added.
Gabriel Paun from Animal International said, however, that Ireland will only facilitate cattle to “suffer a prolonged and painful death in Turkey” from animal welfare methods illegal in Ireland and elsewhere in the EU.
As part of an undercover investigation earlier this year, Mr Paun told The Green News that he filmed an “approved” ship arriving in Turkey which contained Irish cattle “fully covered in thick layer of their own faeces”.
The footage also revealed that the animals were insufficiently covered from the burning sun on their way to a slaughterhouse in a vehicle designed to carry construction materials.
The Animal International investigation uncovered further violations of EU animal rights in Turkey including fully conscious European bulls being subjected to inhuman slaughtering.
This includes the bulls being “hoisted to the ceiling by one rear leg before having their throats hacked with multiple consecutive cuts,” Mr Paun added.
Mr Paun said that he doubts Irish officials have visited slaughterhouses or traveled with Irish cattle on a ship to “determine whether the treatment of animals would accord with the expectations of Irish farmers”.
He believes the truth about the live export industry has failed to be presented to Irish farmers and to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.
“I am sure that if properly briefed, both the farmers and the Minister would seek solutions to keep Irish animals in Ireland”, Mr Paun said.
In July, the Minister recognised that there is an issue with standards in certain non-EU countries when he launched the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy.
Mr Creed said that department was working closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health in relation to their capacity building activities relating to the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter in third countries.
The Minister has previously said that his Department is focused on developing new links with the Middle East and Asian markets which include countries such as South Korea, China, and Egypt.