IFA ANIMAL HEALTH CHAIRMAN SEEKS URGENT MEETING WITH MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE SIMON COVENEY

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IFA ANIMAL HEALTH CHAIRMAN SEEKS URGENT MEETING WITH MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE SIMON COVENEY
04 Feb 2014

IFA ANIMAL HEALTH CHAIRMAN SEEKS URGENT MEETING WITH MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE SIMON COVENEY

Animal Health

IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to address changes to the permission to purchase-in animals without a clear TB test, and the imposition of a 125km limit on knackeries for the disposal of animals.

IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to address changes to the permission to purchase-in animals without a clear TB test, and the imposition of a 125km limit on knackeries for the disposal of animals.

He said both decisions were imposing additional costs on farmers and adding to the administrative burden of day-to-day farming.  “The Minister has to intervene and remove these unnecessary cost impositions which have come about as a result of decisions taken by officials in his Department. This is a significant and fundamental shift in the TB policy which was being applied up to now and which farmers and in particular cattle feeders had become accustomed to, and had based their farm practice on.”

Bert Stewart said this new requirement will prevent cattle finishers from purchasing cattle, which will in effect close down their business for a minimum period of two months. The impact of this unnecessary and unjustifiable trade prohibition will also be felt in the mart trade where these farmers purchase cattle, often on a weekly basis.

“Despite the continuing progress made in reducing the levels of TB and the savings that have accrued as a result, the benefits are not being passed back to farmers by removing unnecessary restrictions and ensuring compensation schemes adequately address the financial loss experienced.”

The second issue of immediate concern to farmers is the imposition by the Department of Agriculture of a 125km maximum distance for the disposal of over 48 month old animals, in order for knackeries and renderers to be eligible to claim the collection and disposal subsidy.

The IFA Chairman said this anti–competitive measure has resulted in rendering charges being increased by up to €50/t for knackeries, which have in turn passed a multiple of this increase back to farmers on an individual animal basis

He said it is obvious the level of price increase by knackeries is totally unjustified; unfortunately farmers have no alternative means of disposal and are forced to pay these rates. It is also obvious that when the most competitive rendering facility on the island was removed as an option for the majority of knackeries, rendering costs were significantly increased.

Bert Stewart said the fallen animal collection and disposal system currently operating is failing to provide farmers with cost effective disposal and must be reviewed in full.

He said this has been further compounded by the Department of Agriculture’s application of the 125Km maximum distance which removed vital competition from the area. With farmers facing into the time of year when the majority of losses are experienced on farm, the anti-competitive 125km restriction must be removed from the TSE subsidy scheme in order to immediately reduce disposal costs.

In the longer term, IFA are calling for a model to be developed that ensures all farmers can avail of a disposal system for their fallen stock at reasonable rates throughout the country.

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