Responding to the statement today from the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, IFA Animal Health Chairman TJ Maher said the Minister and his officials cannot have the luxury of choosing to be bystanders in the ongoing dispute between knackeries and renderers, in which farmers are yet again been used as pawns.
The IFA Chairman said there is a legal obligation on the Minister in the EU Animal By Products Regulation to ensure an efficient Fallen Animal Collection and disposal system is provided for farmers. The Minister and his officials have failed to provide this.
TJ Maher said this latest response from the Minister is wholly inadequate in addressing the seriousness of the issue on farms.
He said the Department of Agriculture has provided over €10m in subvention payments to knackeries over the past three years and the best they can offer farmers now is advice to bury animals, which is far from ideal and not practical in a lot of cases.
“The systems in place which have been overseen by the Department of Agriculture have serious shortcomings, do not meet the legal obligations required of the Minister via EU regulations and have yet again allowed service providers licensed by the Department of Agriculture to hold farmers to ransom,” he said.
He said the Minister and his officials must come forward with a comprehensive review of the systems in place, a review which the Department committed to a number of years ago but has never been carried out, and identify the most efficient mechanism which ensures farmers have a guaranteed collection system at competitive prices.