Animal Health Reports

Animal Health Council Reports March 2023

Animal Health
  1. Disease Trends 

Current TB Statistics  

Current BVD Statistics 

BVD Maps 2014 and 2022 

  1. Activity since last National Council 

Animal Health Committee Study Tour 

  • The National Animal Health Committee visited DAFM Laboratory Campus, Backweston on Thursday 15th of December. The tour included presentations from DAFM staff and laboratory technicians followed by a tour of the laboratories. 
  • In addition to the tour of DAFM Backweston Campus, the committee received a tour of the ICBF Tully Progeny Test Centre and a presentation from ICBF staff.  

Animal Health Committee Meetings 

  • The National Animal Health committee have had two committee meetings in 2023. The first meeting of the year was held in the Irish Farm Centre on the 19th of January 2023.  
  • The second National Animal Health Meeting of the year was an emergency online meeting called at short notice on the 23rd of February 2023. This meeting had a single item agenda relating to the financing of the TB programme following DAFM proposals and in advance of the Financial Working group meeting which was held on Friday 24th of February 2023.  


TB Implementation Working Group Meetings 

  • The TB Implementation Working Group have met on 3 occasions, 6th of December, 10th of January and 7th of February 2023. The Implementation Working Group review disease trends, wildlife programme figures, risk mitigation plans, communications update from the communications sub-group. 
  • Badger Capture/Vaccination figures 
 2020 2021 
Removed 4803 6250 
Vaccinated 3004 6204 
Total 7807 12454 

Communication Sub-Group Meetings 

  • The Communications sub-group met on the 25th of January 2023. The communications sub-group are working on reviewing the overall communications strategy relating to TB, the general FAQ documents that farmers receive during an outbreak, better use of current communications issued by DAFM to farmers and exploring options to encourage uptake of online acceptance or rejection of the On Farm Market Valuation forms (V8). 

Financial Working Group Meetings 

  • The Financial Working Group met on the 12th of January and the 24th of February 2023. High level negotiations relating to all aspects of the TB Programme are ongoing within the group. This includes payment for the EU AHL pre/post movement test, the purchase in facilitation during an outbreak and maintaining eligibility for compensation, increase to income supplement, depopulation and hardship grant payments, increased funding for wildlife programme. Any increased programme expenditure proposed by DAFM is contingent on an additional retrospective levy contribution should income supplement, depopulation and hardship grant expenditure exceed current levels.  

Technical Working Group Meeting  

  • The Technical Working Group met on Wednesday 22nd of February to discuss changes to the Valuer Guidelines. IFA made a submission to DAFM on 30th June 2022 and met DAFM staff on 16th September 2022 to outline necessary changes to valuer guidelines. DAFM highlighted some positive changes to the guidelines. Some elements of the Valuer Guidelines can be agreed but the IFA position is that work must continue within the Technical Working Group to ensure the technical aspects of the TB Programme can reach a satisfactory conclusion.  

Public Consultation on the Management of Deer in Ireland  

  • IFA made a comprehensive submission to Mr Teddy Cashman, Chairman of the Deer Management Strategy Group.  
  • The increasing uncontrolled deer population in Ireland is undoubtedly causing widespread issues across Ireland. While road traffic accidents and biodiversity loss are major causes for concern among farmers and the general public, farmers are those most affected directly by the uncontrolled increase in the deer population which has been allowed to occur over the last number of years. The submission highlighted disease spread, grazing of grass, damage to farm infrastructure, damage to private forestry and road traffic accidents as key areas of concern that must be addressed by the Deer Management Strategy Group.  


BVD Implementation Group Meetings 

  • The BVD Implementation Group met on the 26th of January 2023. IFA support the objective to reach BVD Free Status, recognising the benefits and the direct investment of over €100m of farmers to-date in the programme. 
  • IFA have set out the key points that must form the basis for the remainder of the BVD Programme: 
  • DAFM must fund the BVD programme from 2023 onwards 
  • Once freedom is achieved, the testing and surveillance which will be required to prove on-going freedom must be paid for in full by the Department of Agriculture, which is consistent with the publicly stated Department of Agriculture policy of cost and responsibility sharing in disease control. It is now time for the Department to make their contribution towards testing in this programme. 
  • The testing approach that will be implemented must provide a high level of early case detection to protect the status achieved by farmers. 
  • Where cases are found and controls imposed on farmers to avoid any further spread these farmers must be supported in full for the cost and impact of these controls. 
  • In late December 2022, the Minister announced €2.25million for the BVD Programme for 2023.  


Johnes Disease Control Programme  

  • On January 9th 2023, AHI held a meeting in relation to the future funding of the Johnes control programme. This arose due to processors expressing some reluctance to continue funding the programme despite being key players pushing to establish the programme initially. Following the meeting, it was agreed to continue with the programme funding in its current format and to explore options to revamp the programme to increase participation in the programme.  

IBR Implementation Group  

  • The 3rd meeting of the IBR Implementation Group took place on February 16th 2023. This was the first meeting of the group since before the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. The meeting included extensive discussion around an AHI programme proposal, modelling, bulk tank milk results and communications. IFA highlighted that the lack of Government support for the BVD Programme has put the success of any potential IBR programme in jeopardy. The proposed IBR programme will cost €40m a year, run for a minimum of 16 years and have movement controls on farms if this timeline is to be met. IFA have called for a funding model to be put in place before a programme of this magnitude can be considered. 

Fallen Animals 

  • IFA have attended 2 bilateral meetings with DAFM and 1 meeting with DAFM and other farm organisations in relation to the fallen animal collection service available to farmers. Despite the Department of Agriculture being compelled under EU law to provide an effective and efficient fallen animal collection system for farmers as this is the only mechanism for animal disposal allowed, farmers continue to experience issues with refusal to collect fallen animals and knackeries charging above the maximum collection fee. DAFM are currently conducting a review of the disposal arrangements. IFA have clearly communicated that two key issues that much be addressed in the review are guaranteed collection of fallen animals and competitive collection fees.  

Animal Welfare 

IFA-DAFM Bilateral on Animal Welfare  

  • IFA met with DAFM officials on the 1st of February 2023 to discuss a review of the non-stun slaughter policy, use of electroejaculation to facilitate the collection of semen samples of bulls, the Farm Animal Welfare Network (FAWN), castration and disbudding management practices.  
  1. Upcoming issues 
  • Continued high level negotiations regarding financing of the TB Programme 
  • Continued high level negotiations regarding technical aspects of the TB Programme 
  • Continued work on reviewing all communications relating to the TB programme 
  • Review of fallen animals’ collection services 
  • Irish Deer Management Forum 
  • Explore options to encourage participation in the Johnes Disease programme 

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