Reacting to the statement made by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney on TB changes, IFA Animal Health Chairman John Waters said the new restrictions on contiguous herds are costly, impose unnecessary trade-prohibitive measures on farmers and must be addressed.
John Waters said, “The Department’s own figures in relation to contiguous herds show they are failing to accurately identify the real risk herds. Imposing trade restrictions on all farms is excessive, and adds unnecessary cost and trade constraints to farms that are not a TB risk.”
The significant progress over the past ten years in reducing the levels of TB is due primarily to the effective implementation of the Wildlife Control Programme and the co-operation of farmers. This Programme must continue to be implemented, and in some counties, improved on to sustain the reduction in TB levels.
“The commitment given by the Minister that no contiguous herd will be restricted without a full investigation must be implemented immediately. This will include a discussion with the herdowner and if necessary a farm visit prior to a decision been taken.”
The commitment given by the Department in relation to flexibility on test dates must ensure that farmers do not incur penalties or sanctions. In addition, the Department must remove the anomalies in relation to the payment for tests.
Mr. Waters said the Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure his officials are not allowed impose trade-prohibitive measures that are unnecessary on farmers.