The Department only permits animals to be transported in compliance with the legislation. Department officials and inspectors monitor compliance through a system of official controls, including advance checks of paperwork and veterinary checks, of the livestock vessel and of all animals before they travel, along with retrospective checks on GPS and temperature records. In general, animals travel well and arrive in good condition.
There were nine voyages of dedicated livestock vessels departing from Ireland during 2020 and four to-date during 2021. Of those, an official veterinarian accompanied one voyage during 2020 and one voyage during 2021. The resurgence of COVID-19 in Ireland and throughout Europe during 2021 has made such accompaniment challenging. It is planned to resume such accompaniments once it is deemed safe, and to meet the commitment outlined our Programme for Government.
My Department is conscious of the need to ensure the welfare of the animals in transit and, as the regulator in this area, we are satisfied that the systems in place in respect of the intra-community movement and extra-community movement of these animals are supportive of the welfare of the animals and in compliance with the relevant legislation. The Department continues to monitor and enforce compliance, to ensure the welfare of animals transported.