Wednesday, 30 June 1976
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Hussey, Mr. McEllistrim: and Mr. Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he  considers the present large-scale export of young cattle a serious threat to the size of the national herd in future years.
Mr. Clinton: Exports of cattle this year are running at a level substantially lower than in 1975 and I do not consider the present volume of the trade to be a threat to the size of the future national herd. I would also refer the Deputies to what I said on the subject of exports of cattle and calves when introducing the Estimate for my Department on 2nd June.
Mr. Gallagher: Does the Minister not accept that it would be in the interests of the economy to rear cattle to a stage at which they would be much heavier, thereby benefiting the economy more as against selling them when they are young and small? By doing this we are doing a certain amount of destruction to the economy.
Mr. Clinton: We could not consider it is an advantage to us any longer, but I have heard people roaring across the House at me that calves were being given away and sold at £1 apiece and there were other Deputies opposite, and they are present today, who would agree that this is something we should not make an effort to stop. I understand that we cannot stop it.
Mr. J. Gibbons: Does the Minister not accept that it is obviously inherently inimical to the expansion of the cattle industry to export young cattle and that temporary circumstances, which would seem to make it profitable in the short term to export calves or yearlings, are  ultimately prejudicial to the longterm interests of the herd and the employment of Irish workers?
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