Windsor Framework fails to tackle live animal export problems

​Neil Shand, CEO of the National Beef Association (NBA), has expressed disappointment that the movement of live animals between Northern Ireland (NI) and Great Britain (GB) has been ignored in the Windsor Framework, announced this week.
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He added:“Politically, it may surprise some how much has been achieved within the new framework. But the fact remains Northern Irish cattle producers, particularly pedigree breeders remain disadvantaged in comparison to their GB based counterparts.

“Yes, we have a derogation to allow export assembly centre sales to take place in GB. But this is not a new option from recent negotiation as it has been in place since the autumn.”

According to Shand, sales held under this type of licence would allow cattle to return to NI from GB both as unsuccessful sales and new purchases, without the requirement to have completed six months residency.

Neil ShandNeil Shand
Neil Shand

To date, no GB markets have taken up this option for cattle and they add complications to TB testing of cattle based in GB.

Shand further explained:“That said, we need the support of markets, with encouragement from NI pedigree breeders to get these sales tried and tested.

“There remains no solution for NI breeders wishing to enter shows in GB allowing them the opportunity to compete with their UK herd book colleagues, without the need to complete a residency period.

“There is still an argument of discrimination on this point. The younger generation of Northern Irish breeders continue to be denied the exact same opportunities as their fathers and grandfathers.”

The commercial value of pedigree breeding is colossal in NI and GB, with the genetic value of high performing cattle being part of the environmental solutions needed in the future where feed efficiency can play a vital role. Mr Shand says he is committed to continue the fight to resolve these issues and believes that the political capital gained within the EU by the UK’s support of the conflict in Ukraine has aided the recent negotiations.

Shand concluded: “While there is a willingness to proceed with further dialogue the NBA will, along with other industry stakeholders challenge for enhanced solutions.”