Pedigree breeders pulling out of shows and sales - Situation ‘cannot continue’

Pedigree breeders here have been pulling out of important shows and sales in Great Britain due to NI Protocol rules forcing them to keep their livestock separate from GB animals.

Newry and Armagh DUP assemblyman, William Irwin MLA, has blasted the rules and said the impact of the protocol on Northern Ireland’s pedigree breeders is “unacceptable”, and that legal barriers must be broken down.

The MLA made his remarks after he was contacted by a number of breeders in his constituency who have taken the decision to withdraw from shows and sales across the water.

Mr Irwin said keeping animals separate at events, as well as selling them separately to GB livestock, is “ridiculous and unworkable”.

William Irwin MLA

The assemblyman commented: “This is an issue which perfectly illustrates just how ludicrous and unacceptable the protocol is to many people.

“Northern Ireland pedigree breeders have a long tradition of producing top quality and highly prized animals and they rightly expect to be able to show and sell these high value animals on the big stages in Great Britain.”

He added: “The harsh and unacceptable reality of the protocol, which has been foisted on Northern Ireland, means that the costs and red tape associated with it render the important ability to be able to sell and show animals in Great Britain as unworkable.

“The rules as they stand mean that Northern Ireland show animals must be kept totally separate from GB animals and must also be sold separately.

“That is a situation which simply cannot be allowed to continue and it must be resolved.”

Mr Irwin continued: “I have spoken at length to Minister Poots and I know he has gone to great lengths in raising these same concerns with top officials in the British government, with the Brexit negotiators and with EU officials.

“They all know the unacceptability of these regulations and it is these same regulations, amongst many other protocol related obstacles, that are placing our assembly institutions at risk of collapse.

“For pedigree breeders these obstacles are detrimental and massively off putting and all the more unacceptable given the great history and success Northern Ireland breeders have enjoyed.

“The barriers to east west trade and movement must be broken down and the protocol restrictions ended as soon as possible,” he concluded.