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IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell has strongly rejected the guidance issued by the Veterinary Council of Ireland for vets providing a service to farmers and the issuing of prescriptions.

The IFA Chairman said the guidance is a gross interference with the functioning of a competitive service provision to farmers and is at odds with the clearly set out legislative criteria in relation to the prescribing of veterinary medicines for animals.

Pat Farrell said this guidance document is a blatant attempt to stifle competition in the provision of veterinary services, is unacceptable and must be checked by the relevant authorities.

He said attempting to justify these guidelines in the context of AMR is misleading and ignores the real concern of the vested economic interest of prescribers of antibiotics in the supply of these products.

Pat Farrell said farmers, the Department of Agriculture and all other stakeholders are proactively engaged in a collaborative process to address AMR concerns and are making significant progress. This process has been ignored and undermined by the Veterinary Council document.

In the context of prescribing veterinary medicines for animals, Pat Farrell said the new EU Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulation is at an advanced stage and this sets out the key prescribing criteria for veterinary medicinal products. It includes distinguishing between antimicrobials and other standard products such as vaccines. These criteria will be discussed by DAFM with all stakeholders over the coming months and will set out the legislative criteria that will have to be complied with.

Pat Farrell concluded by saying it is incumbent on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed that farmers are allowed to access a competitive and large animal veterinary service and facilitated in acquiring the relevant expertise for their farm. He said the current guidelines issued by the Veterinary Council grossly interferes with this.

Pat Farrell has called on the Minister to investigate as a matter of urgency the interference with open market competition in the provision of veterinary services to farmers in this document and to have the matter addressed urgently.

With the ANC review due for release next Thursday (Nov 22nd), IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must protect the areas that are currently classified, and ensure the payment rates in 2019 relate to the natural handicap, with higher payments going to the most marginal land.

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The Mater Private Hospital in Dublin, who have held a successful partnership with IFA for a number of years, have launched a new Vascular Health Programme which offers a rapid and direct access to vascular diagnostic tests. The standard price for this testing is €267 however the offer for the first 100 IFA Members is €150.

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IFA has called on Government to take the following steps in support of farming’s contribution to climate action:

  1. Establish a cross-sectoral implementation group, including IFA, to mobilise Government Departments and the State’s advisory, scientific and economic development agencies to maximise the delivery of the emissions reductions identified by Teagasc in their recent climate abatement report.
  2. Work with EU leaders to introduce a carbon tariff on all less climate efficient imports into the EU from South America and other regions to incentivise carbon efficient food production.
  3. Appoint an independent Retail Regulator to ensure farmers get a fairer share of the food supply chain, allowing them to continue to reinvest to further climate proof their farm businesses.
  4. Regarding the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions:
    1. Re-examine the climate metrics applied when calculating methane, given the short-lived behaviour of methane in the atmosphere.
    2. C02 emission reductions through natural carbon sinks, such as forests and permanent pastures, should be included in the overall measurement of the contribution of emissions from the sector.
  5. On community and farm-scale renewables:
    1. The introduction of a guaranteed feed-in tariff model.
    2. Increased grid access, at node and substation level.
    3. Crowdfunding legislation and platforms.
    4. The development of regional biomass trade and logistic centres.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney said, “This detailed submission to Government restates IFA’s opposition to further carbon taxes on the sector, which are directly impacting on farming’s competitiveness without reducing climate emissions. The submission also highlights the multiple and sometimes competing roles that farmers have as food, fuel and energy producers, while at the same time being required to enhance the environment and the low climate mitigating potential of the sector.”

Concluding he said, “Farmers in Ireland have a proud record as carbon efficient food producers. We can and will do more, particularly in the resource efficiency and renewables areas. However, this depends on strong Government support and a fully funded CAP to meet the increased environmental and climate requirements.”

 

Over 600 farmers in Hen Harrier (HH) areas under the locally led scheme should expect payments in the coming weeks.

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