Written Answers. - Animal Slaughtering Policy.

Ivor Callely

Question:

236 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry his policy in relation to the slaughtering of animals; his views on whether slaughtering is more advantageous to the industry; if improved slaughter grant would be beneficial to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1817/96]

In view of the higher employment and added value derived from the export of beef, it is important that the majority of cattle produced in Ireland should be slaughtered and processed in the country in order to provide maximum benefit to the national economy. For that reason, it is important to ensure that EU supports, including export refunds, do not provide any disincentive which would militate against the achievement of that aim.

With regard to the slaughter premium, the position is that this premium is payable only in Ireland and on a very small number of steers in Germany and Denmark. While an improved premium would be beneficial to the Irish beef industry it would be extremely difficult to persuade the Commission or other member states to accept such a proposal in view of the fact that the premium is largely confined to Ireland and, at its present level, has been effective in greatly helping to overcome the impact of seasonality for the Irish slaughtering sector.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

238 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if all beef marked Irish beef is from animals reared and slaughtered in the Republic of Ireland; if beef carcases are imported from the United Kingdom for processing in the Republic of Ireland; if this product is sold to consumers as Irish beef or United Kingdom beef; and if any of this processed United Kingdom beef is exported back to the United Kingdom or exported to any other country and labelled as Irish beef. [1916/96]

The position is that beef traded as Irish beef is of Irish origin. There are special conditions agreed by the European Union governing the export of beef from the United Kingdom. Some beef is imported from the United Kingdom for processing in this country. However, such imports must be accompanied by a health certificate which states that it meets the special conditions and that it is fit for human consumption.

The vast bulk of products produced from this beef are re-exported to the United Kingdom. These products are not labelled as Irish beef. However, they bear a health mark which indicates the country from which the product was consigned and that it has been produced in accordance with the relevant EU legislation.