Animal Health Reports

Animal Health Council Report November 2021


  • The most recent meeting of the TB Implementation Working Group took place on Tuesday 2nd of November 2021. 
  • Disease trends, wildlife, deer management, communication and the EU Animal Health Law requirement for pre/post movement testing were discussed. 
  • The Purchase In Facilitation to restricted herds has been further refined following IFA’s intervention. Pre movement tests are not now required for feeding and finishing animals prior to movement onto restricted farms as part of the RMP.
  • €6m has been committed by the Minister in the Budget to the Wildlife Control Programme following IFA’s submission seeking an increase in staff resources to implement the programme.
  • The TB Forum have also recognised the deer problem across the country and have announced the reestablishment of the National Deer Management Forum.
  • DAFM are continuing with the remapping of badger setts nationally and have recognised the significant information being provided to them by farmers. 
  • DAFM have agreed to implement the Wildlife Control Programme in areas in advance of major infrastructural works. 
  • DAFM have proposed a phased introduction of the 30 day TB pre/post movement test starting with herds that have had TB in the previous 3 years
  • IFA have raised concerns in relation to the impact this will have on trade and have rejected the proposal
  • IFA have suggested focusing the requirement on higher risk animals (Cows).
  • This would reduce the numbers of animals impacted from 3.2m to approx. 500,000.
  • IFA have again set out our objection to any changes in liability to pay for tests for farmers outside the current agreement.
  • The latest meeting of the TB Finance Working Group took place on September 8th 2021. The discussion was primarily based on the proposed funding models provided to the group.  The date for the next Finance Group meeting is yet to be set as Principal Officer has changed position and has yet to be replaced. 
  • IFA continue to set out the key areas that must be addressed in the TB Strategy.
  • IFA have highlighted the positive impact the facilitation of calf sales up 120 days old on the home market has had both in terms of calf welfare and value for both the seller and buyer.
  • DAFM recognise this and have committed to using the data from the past 15 months to again seek a permanent facilitation within the EU Trade Directive.
  • DAFM changes to contract rearing movements back to restricted farms that came into force in August has impacted on compensation eligibility for these animals.
  • IFA have objected to this and have met DAFM on the issue. These animals must continue to be eligible for full compensation.
  • IFA are seeking an incentive payment for farmers who agree to remove Inconclusive animals from the farm.

Latest bovine TB Statistics


  • The next meeting of the BVD IG is to be held on the 18th November 2021.
  • IFA support the objective to reach BVD Free Status by 2023, recognising the benefits and the investments of farmers to-date in the programme.
  • Significant progress has been made in achieving this and the 2022 programme must maintain this progress.

Latest BVD Weekly Figures 03/11/2021

 201320142015201620172018201920202020 Wk 442021 Wk 44
Positive*0.77% (16,192)0.50% (10,758)0.36% (8,246)0.20% (4,540)0.12% (2,843)0.07% (1,531)0.05% (1,111)0.03% (805)0.03% (743)0.03% (725)
Inconclusive*0.03% (661)0.01% (119)0.01% (207)0.00 (59)0.01% (118)0.00% (47)0.00% (15)0.00% (15)0.00% (15)0.00% (4)
Empty1.13% (23,751)0.92% (19,676)0.73% (16,637)0.59% (13,721)1.01% (23,713)1.33% (31,124)0.94% (22,091)0.81% (19,398)0.81% (18,206)0.72% (16,397)
BVD+**0.66% (13,877)0.46% (9,733)0.33% (7,427)0.16% (3,808)0.1% (2,397)0.06% (1,325)0.04% (987)0.03% (723)0.03% (665)0.03% (702)
Recorded dead100% (13,876)100% (9,733)100% (7,427)100% (3,808)100% (2,397)100% (1,325)100% (987)100% (723)97.1% (646)97.5% (681)
Positive herds11.27% (9,484)7.63% (6,191)5.9% (4,771)3.25% (2,551)2.03% (1,616)1.14% (871)0.78 (573)0.57% (412)0.53% (372)0.48% (356)
Herds retaining0.00% (0)0.00%  (0)0.00% (0)0.00% (0)0.00% (0)0.00 (1)0.00 (0)0.00% (0)0.01% (8)0.01% (5)
Negative Herd StatusN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A79,22979,663

Veterinary Medicines

  • The EU Veterinary Medicine Regulations were approved by the Commission January 2019 and come into effect in 2022.
  • IFA have identified the key issues to be: Anthelmintics becoming POM in 2022, prophylactic use of antibiotics will be banned (e.g. Blanket Dry Cow Treatment), a prescription for antibiotics will only be valid for 5 days and the issue of who can prescribe.
  • The IFA position remains that SQP’s must be facilitated in prescribing anthelmintics. This position is supported by license merchants and pharmacies. 
  • IFA have called on the Minister for Agriculture to put in place a system that avoids a two-tier supply system on the island and ensures that licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies remain actively involved in the provision of advice and sale of anthelmintics.
  • DAFM are developing an Electronic Prescription System.
  • The proposed system has advantages but IFA have raised data concerns with DAFM. 
  • The access electronic prescriptions could provide for DAFM and others to individual farmers medicines usage is not acceptable. This has been raised directly with senior DAFM personnel.
  • The VCI prescribing guidance requires vets to have visited the farm inside the previous 30 days to prescribe antibiotics and 90 days to prescribe all other medicines, VCI refuse to recognise laboratory results as adequate information to prescribe for certain products. 
  • IFA have rejected these recommendations and have raised this with VCI. The Animals Under Care Guidance is currently under review.
  • IFA made a detailed submission to VCI during the consultation period on the Draft Codes of Professional Conduct which includes the Animals Under Care and Telemedicines 
  • IFA are actively pursuing a reduction in VAT rate on vaccines. 
  • IFA are involved in developing mechanism for farmers to dispose of unused antibiotics and other veterinary medicines. 

Compulsory Bovine EID

  • DAFM have announced that it will be compulsory to EID tag all calves from July 2022. Additionally, from January 2022 all tag suppliers will supply an EID tag with all new tag orders. 
  • Following IFA’s rejection to the imposition of this cost on farms the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced a €4.25m subvention scheme.
  • The subvention scheme offsets this cost for a period of time for most farmers, it still leaves additional and unnecessary costs on breeding farms.
  • The scheme must be extended to include all tags purchased by farmers and must be amended to also cover the additional cost of replacement EID tags, which are also more expensive than conventional tags.
  • EID tags that are purchased prior to Jan 1st must be eligible for the subvention payment.
  • The Minister must provide direct support to all farmers purchasing tag readers for the full cost that will be incurred
  • This change to our bovine identification system is not a legislative requirement and is based on a decision taken by the Minister to facilitate meat factories, marts, large feedlots and other service providers. 

Details of subvention scheme announced

  • From 1st January 2022 new EID tag sets will be white in colour and will be eligible for funding under a tag subvention scheme.  
  • The intention is that the scheme will operate over 3 years (2022 to 2024 inclusive) with the first payments scheduled to take place in Quarter 4 2022.
  • Payments in 2022 will be calculated on the number of new EID tag sets purchased from 1st January 2022 at a rate of €1 per new EID tag set. 
  • There is a maximum payment of €100 per farmer over the life of the scheme and no application process will be required.  
  • The scheme is proportionately weighted in favour of smaller producers. 
  • Farmers can only order annually the number of new tag sets required commensurate to the number of breeding females in the herd. 

Eligible Payment Examples:

  • A farmer who purchases 30 new EID tag sets each year will be eligible for a payment of €30 in each year of the proposed 3 years of the scheme. 
  • A farmer who purchases 100 new EID tags in the year 1 will be eligible for a payment of €100 in year 1, however, they will not be eligible for further payments in years 2 or 3. 

Mandatory bovine EID will be implemented in two stages:

  • From 1st January 2022 all approved bovine tag suppliers will be required to supply an EID tag with all new tag orders. Each new tag set will include one EID tag and one tissue tag. EID tags will be white in colour. The colour of conventional and tissue tags will remain yellow.
  • From 1st July 2022 it shall be a legal requirement on herd keepers to officially identify all new-born calves with a tag set containing an EID tag.
  • Cattle herd keepers must use up all existing stocks of tags as only white EID tag sets can be used to officially identify and register calves born on or after 1st July 2022.

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