IFA CALL FOR RELAXATION TO BRUCELLOSIS TESTING CONTROLS FOR SUCKLER FARMERS

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IFA CALL FOR RELAXATION TO BRUCELLOSIS TESTING CONTROLS FOR SUCKLER FARMERS
04 Nov 2010

IFA CALL FOR RELAXATION TO BRUCELLOSIS TESTING CONTROLS FOR SUCKLER FARMERS

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IFA Animal Health Project Team Chairman John Waters has called for 50% of suckler herds to be removed from the annual brucellosis testing requirement in 2011, a move that would be worth €2.4m in direct savings for farmers.

Mr. Waters said it is over 4 years since there was a brucellosis case in this country and we must continue to remove the costs associated with the disease in a phased and appropriate manner.

“Removing 50% of suckler herds from the annual blood test requirement would align the controls and costs associated with testing charges for suckler farmers with those already being availed of by dairy farmers since the beginning of this year.”

The IFA Animal Health Chairman acknowledged there continues to be concern about the situation in Northern Ireland and he said the authorities in the North must make every effort to finally rid the island of the disease before next Spring’s calving commence. This would not only remove the threat of re-introduction of the disease to the south, but would also allow farmers avail of the full benefits of Brucellosis free status.

He said the commitment by the Minister for Agriculture in the North to utilise DNA sampling and the services of the PSNI in cases where intentional spread of the disease in the North are suspected should help in the push to finally eradicate brucellosis.

Mr. Waters said while there remains a threat from the situation in Northern Ireland, maintaining the pre-movement test, continuing with the milk ring test and the cull cow monitoring in factories combined with testing 50% of suckler and dairy herds exceeds the minimum requirements laid down by the commission to maintain our official brucellosis free status. Along with these controls farmers along the border continue to have their animals tested twice a year as a further precaution. He said the extra controls farmers along the border endure must be acknowledged by the Department of Agriculture through recognition of the cost in own labour this entails.

The IFA Chairman said farmers have invested heavily in the fight to eradicate brucellosis over the years and the time is now right to reduce costs and the level of controls further for suckler farmers by removing 50% of herds from the annual brucellosis herd test requirement for 2011 allowing them to avail of €2.4m in savings annually.  Mr. Waters said we must remain vigilant at all times to avoid reintroduction of the disease and he advised farmers to only purchase animals from reputable sources.

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