IFA Animal Health Chairman TJ Maher has criticised the failure of the Department of Agriculture to address the key issues in the collection scheme of fallen animals.
“In recent weeks, IFA has received reports of knackeries charging above the maximum collection fees (see table below) for fallen animals. In some areas, knackeries have refused to collect fallen sheep. This is not the first time some of these issues have been raised with the Department of Agriculture,” he said.
The scheme in its current format protects the interests of rendering plants and licensed knackeries at the expense of farmers.
“It’s simply not good enough that Minister McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture have left farmers under the heel of knackeries with a system that is anti-competitive and fails to hold fallen animal collectors accountable,” he said.
TJ Maher said the scheme includes significant levels of subvention payments to knackeries, but doesn’t provide for a guaranteed and competitively-priced fallen animal collection system for farmers.
“The fallen animal disposal system is in desperate need of a full review to identify the most cost-efficient means to have fallen animals removed from farms, and to create a mechanism to guarantee collection of all fallen animals,” he said.
TJ Maher reminded farmers it is important that they are aware that these prices are the maximum fees a knackery can charge for fallen animal collection, and some knackeries offer more competitive rates. Any knackeries applying higher charges are not in compliance with the subvention scheme they have signed up to.
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TJ Maher said the Department of Agriculture is compelled under EU law to provide an effective and efficient fallen animal collection system for farmers as this is the only mechanism for animal disposal allowed. Despite numerous demands from IFA to resolve the issue, they have failed to do so.
IFA is calling on the Department of Agriculture to have a full review of the disposal arrangements. The current system is failing to deliver for farmers and the two key issues that must be addressed are guaranteed collection of all animals and competitive collection fees.