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With much fanfare the Gathering has been launched in 2013.
An invite has been issued to all; come to Ireland and see this land in all its glory. However, for Irish cattle an invitation to travel is coming from the Middle East.
Recent media reports indicate that live cattle exports Ireland to the Middle East are to recommence. The BSE crisis had stopped these exports and the prospect of them reopening is extremely worrying.
Given the inherent imposition of physical stress on animals combined with a disconnection with animal welfare standards in the countries receiving and processing our cattle, this vile trade should not be subscribed by the Irish farming community in their pursuit of financial reward.
A snapshot of what our cattle will endure can be found in the fact that most animals in the Middle East are not stunned — rendered unconscious — before slaughter. Their throats are cut while they are fully conscious and they are left to bleed to death.
The Government needs to rethink any return to live exports to the Middle East. The journeys involved are too long to be able to guarantee a satisfactory level of animal welfare and the conditions for animals in destination countries are often far below the minimum legal standards required in Ireland.
Waterford Animal Concern
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