The Animal Health & Welfare Bill has been passed by the Senate and has completed Committee Stage in the Dail. While the Bill is for the most part general in its application, its provisions do apply during the transport of animals.
In view of the fact that the transport of animals is governed by Council Regulation No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, which is implemented in Ireland via Statutory Instrument No 675 of 2006, the Bill, when enacted, will not have any immediate or direct effect on live exports. These regulations allow Member States to operate stricter rules than those applied by the EU regulation in relation to the transport of animals by sea. In that context, my Department has retained the rules that it has applied in relation to sea transport of animals since 1996. These are significantly stricter than the EU rules and set a higher standard than that which applies in other EU Member States. This is justified not only on sound animal welfare reasons but also because it reflects the nature of the shipping routes from this island.