Meeting with senior Department of Agriculture officials this week IFA President Joe Healy said the current Regional Veterinary Laboratory structure is recognised internationally as the optimum disease surveillance structure and must be built on to enhance the services already provided to farmers and the agriculture industry.
He said, as a leading exporter of farm produce, Irish farmers invest heavily in ensuring the highest health and welfare standards of our animals which is vital to optimise the highest value export markets for our produce. The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his Department must support these efforts and investments by upgrading all the current regional laboratory sites and enhancing the services provided by them to farmers.
Joe Healy said in the context of the challenges facing Irish farmers over the next number of years which include issues such as Brexit, AMR and new and emerging disease threats it was never more important to have a fully resourced Regional Veterinary Laboratory network to support farmers and the agri-food industry.
He said the next phase of the process is to set terms for a cost benefit analysis of the options put forward by the Departments own working group. IFA is demanding direct involvement in establishing these terms and in carrying out the analysis.