The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. announced, on Monday, that he has introduced new legislation to regulate livestock marts, updating legislation that has been in place for many years.
The Animal Health and Welfare (Livestock Marts) Regulations 2018 is enacted under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and replaces the Livestock Marts Act 1967.
The Minister said that the regulations modernise the laws relating to livestock marts, and require livestock marts to have a new licence prior to 1 January 2019.
The regulations represent a significant step forward in relation to animal health and welfare requirements in a trading environment that matches international standards.
The Minister said that the regulations put Ireland to the fore of best international practice and added “I am conscious of the importance of managing the risks of animal disease associated with the movement of animals and in that regard, it is critical to have robust biosecurity procedures in marts.”
The Minister emphasised that he is very conscious of the need to maintain very high standards of animal welfare, including calf welfare. The prohibition on possession of a stick around calves less than 42 days of age at a livestock mart will encourage livestock marts to modernise droving behaviours to reduce stress in cattle presented at livestock marts.
The Minister said that “The inclusion of a provision in the legislation prohibiting the sale of calves under 10 days at marts (effective date 1st January 2019) is a progressive step in advancing animal welfare.” Minister Creed thanked the stakeholders for their constructive participation in the consultation process when drafting this modern regulatory framework for livestock marts.
Concluding, the Minister said “In preparing and drafting the Regulations, I have always been aware of the need to balance the requirements of the commercial agri-food sector with the need to protect the health and welfare of animals. The focus on animal health and welfare in the trading environment for live animals is a vital component of our strategy for the continued success of Ireland’s agri-food sector and of obtaining and maintaining export markets.”