Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (1036)

Holly Cairns


1036. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proposals he has made to the EU regarding Common Agricultural Policy negotiations to ensure that the next round of funding will be used to promote improved animal welfare on farms as is committed to in the programme for Government; the amount of funding that will be available to address animal welfare issues on farms in Ireland in 2021; the way in which it will it be distributed; the agency that will be responsible for implementing and monitoring animal welfare improvements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7458/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Council of Ministers reached agreement on the General Approach on the CAP in late October 2020. It is important to note that this overall position, which I supported, includes a number of specific objectives for the new CAP, including achieving better responses to societal demands for improved animal welfare. It should also be noted that Ireland has the highest standards of animal welfare. It should also be noted that the final agreement on the CAP is dependent on the outcome of trilogue negotiations between the Council, European Parliament and Commission, which commenced in November and are likely to run for some months.

My Department is fully committed to delivering on the Programme for Government commitments to support the development of high-welfare pig and poultry production systems, as well as mainstreaming animal welfare across Teagasc and my Department’s education and research programmes.

The newly established Animal Welfare Division is committing resources to on-farm animal welfare inspections, as well as inspections at marts - in particular where calves are sold - and in slaughter plants, where welfare indicators will be recorded in ante-mortem and post-mortem data collection

The Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme is one of the seven capital investment measures available under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II). This capital investment measure specifically provides for funding for the welfare of cattle and sheep. To date, in excess of €40.8m has been spent on investments.

In addition, in excess of €1.58m has been spent on investments under the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme. The investment ceiling under this measure will be increased from €80,000 to €200,000 and will include some additional animal welfare conditionality. The main investments for calf welfare previously available under the Calf Investment Scheme (CIS), which has resulted in a spend of over €1.77m to date, are now also available under TAMS II.