IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the BVD Eradication programme must deliver on its objective for farmers, within the stated timeframe and cost. He said farmers have strongly supported the programme to date on the basis that expensive tissue sample testing would be replaced after three years with a lower-cost monitoring option for the remaining three years of the programme. “Animal Health Ireland must ensure this commitment to farmers is honoured. It is not acceptable that farmers would incur an extra year of tissue tag testing as a result of the Department of Agriculture not providing adequate support to farmers to ensure the early removal of PI animals.”
Bert Stewart said IFA has from the outset highlighted the unfair cost burden imposed on farmers who identified PI animals and are faced with having to dispose of them. He said, “While it is best practice advice both for the health of the individual herd and that of neighbouring herds to dispose of PI animals at the earliest opportunity, it is no surprise that some farmers have been unable to do this when the immediate financial losses are assessed”.
BVD eradication from the national herd will return financial benefits to all key stakeholders and the economy in general. Farmers are investing €9m p.a. in the programme and other stakeholders must now step up and contribute in a meaningful way if the programme is to succeed.
The IFA Chairman said the level of support available to farmers to dispose of PIs must be increased, paid retrospectively and a lower-cost, lower monitoring option developed for all farmers in order to get the BVD programme back on track.