A delegation of farmers led by IFA Animal Health Chairmen, John Kingston, (Cork Central) and Derry Scannell, (West Cork) today highlighted farmer anger towards the recently issued Dept of Agriculture’s TB Herd Risk letters. In protest, the delegation burned the letters outside the Department of Agriculture offices in Clonakilty.
“All correspondence issued by the Department of Agriculture must be fully GDPR compliant and not blacklist farmers for events outside their control. These letters do not meet these basic requirements and should be withdrawn immediately,” said John Kingston.
The delegation set out IFA’s demands for a TB programme that tackles the real drivers of TB and reduces the cost burden of controls on farmers and their families.
Local Department officials were asked to make the views of Cork farmers known to senior policymakers in advance of any reconvened TB talks, which the Minister has said will start shortly.
John Kingston said, “Farmers want to see meaningful dialogue between the Department and farmers. Several issues have been raised consistently, but so far these have fallen on deaf ears. The disconnect between senior Department of Agriculture policymakers and those who are impacted by their decisions cannot continue”.
He said IFA has set out detailed proposals on the three critical areas of; wildlife control, breakdown investigation and management and, fair financial compensation for farmers while a farm is restricted.
Derry Scannell said, “The implications of these letters extend beyond the devaluing of animals on farms. They could have severe repercussions for the mart trade and broader market access for farmers. This approach has the potential to increase the number of movements and distance of movements of animals through the hands of opportunistic buyers”.
“Farmers want these letters withdrawn immediately, and discussions on solving the TB problem.”
IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the Minister for Agriculture must take control of the TB situation and convene discussions as a matter of urgency.
Commenting on the announcement today by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to reconvene discussions in the TB Forum, IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Minister must ensure it delivers real change in the TB programme, including a withdrawal of the Herd Risk letters and a meaningful opportunity for farmer input.