IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has again raised the difficulties farmers are experiencing with the current Fallen Animal Collection System in a meeting with senior Department of Agriculture officials.
He said the difficulties experienced by farmers under the current structures are reaching crisis point in some areas, with exorbitant charges being applied or refusal by knackeries to collect some fallen stock. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.
The IFA Chairman said, “The Department has a responsibility to ensure an adequate fallen animal collection infrastructure is provided throughout the country to facilitate farmers in complying with their legal obligations under the animal by products regulations. The current system is not meeting this requirement and must be restructured as a matter of urgency”.
The IFA Chairman said he undertook a study tour to Holland to investigate alternatives and found a far more cost effective system of fallen animal disposal being operated. This information has been provided to the Department of Agriculture as one example of how the system operated in Ireland could be improved.
IFA have identified key elements of the current fallen animal collection system that must be improved on by the DAFM in order to provide farmers with an efficient cost effective disposal system.
Currently the Department of Agriculture licenses knackeries to operate as intermediaries to collect fallen animals and deliver them for rendering. This licensing process does not guarantee farmers a collection service for their fallen animals throughout the country and fails to ensure competition is provided for the provision of this service.
As a matter of urgency, IFA is seeking changes to the licensing of knackeries which will improve the level of service provision and competition for farmers in the disposal of their fallen animals.
Bert Stewart said the licensing process must compel knackeries to provide a full collection service in their identified area to all farmers for all types of stock. The Department must ensure all areas of the country have access to a collection service which is provided within maximum timeframes set out for collection. Where the Department fails to license more than one provider in any geographic region the levels of costs applied by the only provider must be set at realistic maximum levels and if necessary supported.
The IFA Chairman said the Department of Agriculture has a responsibility to provide a cost effective and competitive fallen animal collection system for farmers in all parts of the country. He said, “The current system is not meeting these objectives and must be revised”.
Bert Stewart said there are more cost effective structures implemented in other EU countries which provide all farmers with a fallen animal collection system at reasonable collection rates. The Department must move to implement similar systems for Irish farmers.