IFA Animal Health Chairman John Waters said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure the upcoming Budget maintains the necessary funding to continue the progress being made on animal health and the improvement in the health status of the national herd. He said the priority has to be that the compensation schemes deliver full market value for all animals removed, cover the consequential losses, and avoid any increase in any levies.
John Waters said we cannot afford now to become complacent or look to apply any increase in the costs of eradicating disease to farmers. He pointed out the Department are already experiencing savings which have come about due the reduced incidence of TB. “With significant financial support being provided for the Irish TB Eradication Programme from Brussels, it is vital this money continues to be accessed and the current programme continues to operate.”
Mr. Waters said there is a real opportunity to push on and eradicate TB, a disease that has cost famers hundreds of millions in lost income, testing charges and disease levies. However, he said in the push to eradicate the disease in Ireland, farmers cannot be expected to carry any additional cost.
“Taking shortcuts at this critical stage in TB eradication will undermine the value accrued from the investments made to-date by farmers and the Department, in reducing incidence to the lowest levels of the disease on record.”
The IFA Animal Health chairman said real progress is finally being made in reducing the levels of TB in the country, with herd incidence to date this year down almost 15% when compared with the same period in 2009. He said the number of reactor animals removed when comparing the same period down 25%.