Egypt talks to Ireland about resuming live cattle trade - Farmers Weekly

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Egypt talks to Ireland about resuming live cattle trade

18 August 1997
Egypt talks to Ireland about resuming live cattle trade

IRISH live cattle exports to Egypt could restart soon. Farming leaders and Egyptian officials are meeting today in a bid to lift the ban on live cattle triggered by the BSE crisis.

The stumbling-block has been slaughtering methods. The Irish government has offered to pay for and install equipment needed to remove and destroy specified risk material in an Egyptian abbatoir.

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Egypt talks to Ireland about resuming live cattle trade

18 August 1997
Egypt talks to Ireland about resuming live cattle trade

By Boyd Champness

IRISH farm leaders are meeting Egyptian officials in Cairo today hoping to come to an agreement that will see the Egyptian ban on live Irish cattle exports lifted.

Egypt banned the import of live cattle from Ireland in December last year as a result of the BSE crisis, but in May this year agreed in principal that the live trade of bullocks under 30-months could resume once proper slaughtering methods were put in place.

As part of the agreement, Egypt asked the Irish government to fund the building of a IR£5 million (£4.54m) beef processing factory which would remove specified risk materials (SRM) – such as the head and spinal cord – from cattle at slaughter.

But the Irish government rejected the demand, instead offering to install machinery into an existing Egyptian abattoir to carry out the removal of SRMs. Ireland also offered to provide incinerator equipment that would help destroy SRMs safely. Its believed that the SRM equipment and the incinerator would cost the Irish government about IR£500,000.

An Irish Department of Agriculture spokesman said Egypts request of IR£5m for a new abattoir was rejected by the department because the ministry believed that the necessary BSE safety regulations could be introduced into an existing abattoir.

“We also didnt want to set a precedent which would be hard to maintain when other North African countries start taking Irish beef again,” the spokesman said.

Despite Irelands refusal to build a new abattoir, authorities are particularly keen on getting the Egyptian live trade up and running again, which was worth IR£65m last year and IR£140m during the pre-BSE year of 1995.

“We expect to know by the end of the week whether or not an agreement has been made about the resumption of live trade. But we dont expect a date of when the trade will resume to come out of these meetings,” the spokesman said.

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