Outlining the key principles that must form the basis of the upcoming review of the TB eradication programme, IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the cost burden on farmers has gone on for too long. He said they have lost patience with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his lack of appreciation of the true impact his Department’s controls are having on farmers and their families.
IFA has always supported the development of a TB Forum, provided it delivers a meaningful platform for stakeholder views to be incorporated into the programme.
Pat Farrell said the Minister and his officials must start listening to the views of farmers who have endured the hardship of TB controls, and address the huge shortcomings in the programme which IFA have identified if he wants the support of farmers for the programme.
Pat Farrell said, “It is undeniable that progress has been made in reducing the levels of TB nationally, but these national figures mask the trauma experienced by farm families throughout the country who have TB breakdowns”.
The Animal Health Chairman said it is very worrying that there are areas of the country that have not experienced the same levels of reductions, and areas that have regressed. Pointing to the serious deterioration of the situation in Monaghan, he said this raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of vaccination in the county as it had one of the lowest levels of TB and has been part of the vaccination programme for a number of years.
Concluding, Pat Farrell said the Minister and his officials have a job of work to do, in convincing farmers they are serious about eradicating TB. “This can only be achieved by providing adequate financial support for farmers to ensure they are not out of pocket when TB controls are imposed on their farms and the DAFM resources necessary to deliver on eradication within the shortest possible time frames.”