EFI and NGOs send Open Letter to Minister

Animals International, Compassion in World Farming and Eyes on Animals have joined forces with Ethical Farming Ireland in an Open Letter to the Minister. In the letter we outline ongoing, serious concerns around the sea journeys to countries in North Africa and the Middle East that thousands of young bulls have to endure every year. We also detail the brutal slaughter methods the animals are subjected to when they arrive.

Ireland continues to grow live exports outside of the EU

While countries like New Zealand and Germany are banning or restricting live export, Ireland continues to expand into new markets like Jordan and Egypt. According to media, weanlings for at least two shipments have been assembled by Irish exporters and will depart to Turkey before Christmas. Once loaded, the young animals will have to endure a 14-day sea journey. We know from previous exports that many of these young bulls will likely become sick and sustain injuries. It is also possible that some of the bulls will die en route.

Turkey, along with other countries Ireland exports cattle to such as Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Egypt, carries out inhumane slaughter practices that would not be acceptable in Ireland, or in the EU. A trade deal has also just been secured to export cattle to Israel – the cruelty just doesn’t stop.

Injuries, illness and death at sea

These young bulls are subjected to unimaginable suffering. The carriers (typically the Sarah M built in 1979 and Finola M in 1988) are decades old and not fit for purpose, with both vessels amassing a significant number of safety issues between them.

Every year thousands of young bulls are subjected to unimaginable suffering, crammed into hot, humid, filthy vessels, crossing choppy seas for up to two weeks, usually just to be slaughtered in a brutal manner shortly after arrival at their destination. Respiratory illnesses and leg injuries are common, as temperatures and humidity rise and the pens become heavily soiled during the voyage” explains Caroline Rowley of Ethical Farming Ireland.

Violent slaughter and abuse

Slaughter methods in these destination countries include slashing tendons, stabbing in the eyes, being strung up by a rear leg, multiple slashes at the throat, being hit over the head with poles, all whilst fulling conscious and in front of other animals.

The slaughterhouse workers have a lack of education, and training, lack of facilities, there is no vet present and there is little in the way of legislation. Street slaughter is common. We have non-stun slaughter in Ireland, but what these animals experience is something different altogether, as is outlined in the letter.

Director Lesley Moffat states “Eyes on Animals has been inspecting and giving animal-welfare training courses at slaughterhouses in Turkey since 2014. Most cattle slaughterhouses in Turkey use trip-floor boxes where cattle are forced to enter, the floor is raised on an angle to purposefully make the bovine abruptly fall down. Completely in panic, but unable to stand back up, their legs are chained, and they are dragged out of the box and then fully hoisted off the floor, dangling by one leg. Sometimes they are left like this for minutes before their throat is cut while fully alert and fully sensitive to pain. The animals are in complete terror, their leg and ligaments torn. We have made slight improvements so far in 8 slaughterhouses, but there are over 500 in the country, and we are only a small NGO.

No governmental agency is doing this work. What is needed is the export of expertise in humane slaughter, not the export of live animals to a slaughter of hell”.

Lebanon exports – Minister ignores video evidence of barbaric slaughter

EFI, Animals International, Compassion in World Farming and Eyes on Animals sent the Minister for Agriculture video evidence of Irish animals being subjected to horrific slaughter in Lebanon, obtained by Animals International. We have raised concerns with the Minister numerous times, but frustratingly we have been persistently ignored. It seems the financial gain of a handful of exporters is deemed more important than the welfare of our animals.

Video evidence of Irish cattle at a slaughterhouse in Lebanon has been sent to the Minister and ignored! We now have evidence of Irish cattle at a slaughterhouse in Jordan. So, we are requesting a meeting with the Minister to discuss these matters first hand”, Gabriel Paun of Animals International explains. He further adds “The Minister may be both insensitive to and incapable of ending the unnecessary suffering of Irish animals, but this barbaric trade comes with an economic cost too, as it is known that exporting live animals equals the export of jobs and money.

Peter Stevenson OBE, chief policy advisor to Compassion in World Farming states “I urge Ireland’s vets to stop signing the paperwork that is required for live exports to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. When they sign export health certificates, vets are condemning Irish animals to horrific slaughter practices in the destination countries that would be illegal if carried out in Ireland. In signing these certificates, vets are breaching their professional obligation to ensure good animal welfare and in particular to ensure that animals have a humane death without unnecessary suffering.

Take Action

We are calling on the Minister to end this senseless suffering and export meat instead of live animals. Let’s keep the animals and the jobs in Ireland!  We also urge the Minister to support a full EU ban on export to countries outside the EU that do not have the same standards, practices and regulations that we do. Please email Minister McConalogue now and urge him to stop sending animals to a brutal, agonisng death. Be the voice for animals! This cruelty must end!

Links and media:

Press release

Animals International media page

Animals International message to Minister 

Uplift petition

Open Letter

Israel gives green light for importation of Irish cattle

Animal Welfare Foundation – EU approved livestock carriers

Government fail to honour live export commitments



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4 Responses

  1. Muireann ni Dhroighneain

    Minister, a chara,

    You need to facilitate a complete stop to this horrendous needless cruelty. There is no economic excuse for this.

  2. Margreet

    Please stop this ????????
    This is horror for the animals.

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