By Cate McCurry, PA
Animal welfare campaigners have demanded a U-turn on the Government’s decision to export live pigs to China.
Representatives from Ethical Farming Ireland and My Lovely Pig Rescue, joined by a number of celebrities and animal welfare experts, said the export would be “cruel and inhumane”.
A protest was held outside Government Buildings in Dublin to demand that the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, act immediately to overturn the decision.
Campaigners said it was a “shameful” decision to fly pigs to China, and urged the Government to end all long-distance animal transports.
Campaigners were dressed as the Three Little Pigs and a distraught air hostess, holding a life-size model pig in a cargo crate bound for China.
The protest was attended by singer-songwriter Cathy Davey, founder of My Lovely Pig Rescue, singer and animal welfare activist Linda Martin, the actor Pauline McLynn, and animal welfare experts,
Last month Mr McConalogue confirmed that he and Ni Yuefeng of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) signed and exchanged formal protocols that will pave the way for the export of breeding pigs from Ireland to China.
The organisers said that pigs were highly sensitive and intelligent beings who get stressed easily, and that sending them on a long flight, packed into crates in the cargo bay, was “cruel and inhumane”.
Peter Stevenson OBE, chief policy adviser of Compassion in World Farming, said: “I urge the Irish Government not to send pigs to China. The pigs will suffer during such long journeys.
“Once in China they may be confined in narrow sow stalls, which are illegal in Ireland.
“They will also be housed in multi-storey farms, which have suddenly become fashionable in China. Ireland should not be expanding its inhumane live export trade.”