By Aodhan O’Faolain

AHigh Courtchallenge against a government decision to ban all transport of livestock to North African countries during July and August has been compromised.

The action was launched by Cork-registered Curzon Livestock Ltd., whose business involves the export of livestock to countries including Libya in late May.

It claimed its business would suffer as a result of the ban, which had no legal basis.

High Court judicial review

In judicial review proceedings commenced against the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland and the Attorney General last May, the company sought various orders and declarations.

These included an order quashing the ban, and various declarations including that the decisions are irrational, unreasonable, unlawful and outside the powers of the minister.

The High Court had previously directed that the application for permission to bring the challenge be made on notice to the respondents.

However, when the matter returned before the court, Justice Charles Meenan was told the action had been compromised, on confidential terms.

The action was adjourned to a date in October.

Ban on live exports

Previously the court heard last March that the Minister for Agriculture sent out an email, known as a hot weather notification, stating that all live animal exports to North African nations in July and August 2021 had been banned.

The ban was confirmed in other communications made by the Minister earlier this month.

The company, represented by senior counsel David Holland, instructed by Cantillon solicitors, had claimed that there was no legal basis for a blanket and indiscriminate ban such as the one imposed.

The court also heardthat the ban also failed to take into account the safeguards that the company takes when it transports animals to North Africa.

It also said it is supportive of efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of cattle it brings to North Africa from Ireland, and had never received any complaint about the manner it transports animals to other countries.

The company claimed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) informed it that the ban is based on several factors.

These include EU Directives and regulations on animal protection during transport; public scrutiny of the issue; temperature increases in North Africa; and an EC instruction that the transport of animals in temperatures over 30°C causes suffering to them.