IFA’s Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said confirmation that Northern Ireland has achieved Brucellosis-free status from the EU Commission provides the basis for the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to remove the pre-movement test from animals over 24 months of age.
He said this announcement means the island of Ireland is now recognised officially as free from Brucellosis. Bert Stewart said he expects the Minister to move quickly on this based on the commitments given to IFA earlier this year.
“Brucellosis has imposed severe costs and hardship on individual farmers and the Minister must now remove the last direct cost burden on farmers as soon as possible.”
Bert Stewart said the discontinuation of the pre-movement test for breeding animals over 24 months of age will represent the removal of the last farmer testing requirement for brucellosis. When combined with the cessation of herd testing, this will be worth €6m in savings annually to farmers.
Furthermore, he said the discontinuation of this test allows farmers to consider mart sales for female beef animals without the prohibitive costs previously associated with their sale. This will provide a viable alternative outlet and improve competition.