With a large number of pedigree bulls purchased by Northern-Irish buyers annually, the introduction of new strict live-cattle export criteria has been recognised as an ‘obstacle to the export trade’. That is according to Nevan McKiernan, Secretary of Irish Charolais Cattle Society.
‘The new legislation is an obstacle. It means that once a breeder brings an animal to a sale and that animal goes home unsold, that animals is now not eligible for export, even though he was T.B. tested within the thirty-day period. The animal cannot go to another sale with an export-tested status. He has to go back home for another thirty days from the date of that sale next week due to new legislation.’ Nevan told That’s Farming.
The enforcement came to the fore in January of this year and is ‘putting less money in the breeders’ pocket’, says McKiernan.
It is not confined to just mart movements, but also includes movements to shows.
Mr. Kiernan stated that previously the number of movements was not taken into consideration, just as long as the animal was export-tested within thirty-days of sale.
‘This new rule is putting additional financial pressure on breeders, with a vet’s call-out fee alone, currently sitting at approximately €70. It doesn’t make sense.’ He added.
Sitting as the Secretary of the society, McKiernan is aware that many breeders are unaware of this legislation and have ended up ‘caught’.
‘Many sold their bulls not realising that they were not eligible for export. They made the presumption that the previous rule applied, went into the office to find out they weren’t eligible for export, because they had a movement. The majority of breeders still don’t know and it will take until peak trading in the Autumn for people to realise. ’
McKiernan went on to question the difficulty surrounding the interpretation of such legislation by farmers. He suggested simplifying the system.
The Charolais Cattle Society has a membership base of 2,500 breeders, with up to 400 pedigree registered bulls put under the hammer at sales, hosted by the society annually. Notably, a large number of bulls are exported to Northern Ireland.
Two of the official society sales require entries to be export-tested, but in the Charolais calendar, it has been advised to have animal’s export-tested due to the attendance of N.I. purchasers.
McKiernan acknowledged the fact that the issue is not only confined to the ICCS, ‘everyone is impacted by it’.