Seeder Slams Russian Livestock Import Ban as Unjustified
Helir-Valdor Seeder ( Peeter Langovits/Scanpix )
Noting Russia's commitment to joining the World Trade Organization, Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder in meetings in Brussels yesterday rallied opposition to its eastern neighbor's import ban on livestock, calling it an unjustified and disproportionate step.
The prohibition, which came into force on March 20 after an EU-Russia meeting last week failed to reach a stopgap solution, stands to hit Esonia's livestock farmers hard, as 60 percent of their live pigs are sold to Russia.
Seeder said at the meeting of the EU's agriculture ministers on Tuesday that it was important to Estonia that internationally accepted principles be followed.
The reason given for the decision by Russia's veterinary authorities, announced on March 2, is the alleged lack of steps by the EU to combat the Schmallenberg virus and insufficient control of import livestock - including, says Russia, by Estonia.
The Estonian Agriculture Ministry said declaring an outright prohibition was disproportionate. "None of the alleged shortcomings poses a risk to human or animal health," the ministry said in a statement.
Seeder said on Tuesday that Estonia should have been given a chance to take corrective action, and that it had not received a written summary from Russian supervisory authorities on the findings.