In meetings with Irish MEPs on new and proposed EU regulations concerning animal health in Brussels this week, IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said these provide the basis for MEPs to ensure access to our vital live export markets is fully protected, the costs of veterinary medicines are reduced for farmers, and imports from third countries are produced to equivalent standards as EU products.
The IFA Animal Health Chairman said this is the first real opportunity to address a number of key concerns and remove unnecessary costs and controls from the area of animal health for farmers.
In relation to the new EU Animal Health Law, which was passed earlier this year, Bert Stewart said it is vital for Irish farmers that the delegated acts, which will provide the detail, ensure our live export routes are protected, disease eradication/control programmes are science based and practical, and that there are no increases in costs or unnecessary controls for farmers.
He said the delegated acts must recognise the professionalism of farmers and accept their decision making in relation to engaging service providers and allow maximum member state flexibility. Issues such as compulsory private veterinary inspections are not necessary, impose extra cost and are not acceptable to farmers.
Ensuring that there are no obstacles or restrictions to the live export trade, which is critical for price competition, and providing additional outlets for beef cattle and the well-established and proven trade route in this country is vital and must be facilitated in the new regulations.
The draft plans for Official Controls, which were informally agreed last week by food safety MEPs, must be practical and risk based. Member states are required to provide adequate resources to implement official controls and this cost cannot be imposed on farmers.
Veterinary medicinal products are a vital tool for farmers in the management of the health and welfare of their animals and represent a significant annual input cost on Irish farms.
The proposal on Veterinary Medicinal Products provides the opportunity to significantly reduce this cost and remove unnecessary bureaucracy in the supply chain, if the existing regulations are amended appropriately.
Some of the key issues that must be addressed in the proposals include increased competition, price transparency and availability of veterinary medicines, protection of existing supply routes, maintaining flexibility in regard to the prescribing process, reducing the administrative burden of record keeping and providing for all veterinary medicine products to be advertised to farmers.
There is a real opportunity to reduce the cost burden and improve both price transparency and availability of veterinary medicines for farmers in the Proposed Veterinary Medicinal Regulations. In addition, the new regulations should also address the issues around research and development of new animal health products.