Commenting on the results of an extensive national survey carried out by IFA into the costs of Fallen Animal collection, IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the lack of real competition in some areas between knackeries is very evident and, combined with the ongoing impact of the 125km rule changes imposed by the Department of Agriculture last year, is leaving farmers exposed to unjustifiable collection charges in some areas.
Bert Stewart said it is also obvious from the survey results that in areas where real competition exists between knackeries, farmers can avail of reduced collection rates. Based on the survey information, collection rates range from €10 to €40 /head for calves, €25 to €80 /head for 6 to 12-month old animals, €35 to €95/head for 1 to 2 year old animals and €40 to €140 for 2 to 4-year old animals. For over 48 month old animals, which are subsidised by the Department of Agriculture, collection charges range from €40 to €60/head, despite knackeries being prohibited under the terms of the subsidisation scheme from charging more than €55/head. The Department of Agriculture cannot continue to ignore this. In areas where farmers can avail of direct delivery some knackeries offer significant reductions from the collected rate.
The IFA Chairman said renderers who took advantage of the conditions created by the Department of Agriculture in the application of the 125km measure distance requirement and increased rendering charges to knackeries are implicit in the anti-competitiveness that exists for fallen animal disposal in this country.
Bert Stewart said, “The entire area of fallen animal collection and disposal lacks real competition and must be reviewed in full by the Minister and a competitively-priced fallen animal collection system provided for all farmers”.
Stewart said the Department of Agriculture must revisit the structure of fallen animal disposal in this country. He said the current infrastructure in large areas of the country lacks real competition and is failing to provide a cost effective service for farmers. In a study visit to Holland, IFA met farmers and representatives from RENDAC, the company providing the service there. The rates for fallen animal disposal charged to farmers in Holland are significantly less than those being paid by Irish farmers and the feasibility of this model must be investigated in an Irish context. Bert Stewart said IFA has provided the details of this system to the Department of Agriculture.
Bert Stewart said it cannot be forgotten that knackeries avail of a significant income from the sale of hides and meat for kennels from the fallen animals, and this must be taken into account when establishing what a reasonable collection rate would be. When the actual rendering cost of individual animals is calculated, it highlights a huge difference between what some knackeries are charging to collect animals and their costs of disposal before any value is attributed to the value of product salvaged.
Bert Stewart said the only conclusion that can be drawn from this information is that farmers are exposed to an anti-competitive system of fallen animal disposal and he has again called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately address the issue.