Serious Concerns for Bvd Programme Following Changes to Bovine Identification Tag Approval Process – IFA

Meeting senior Department of Agriculture officials today, IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has strongly criticised the move by the Department to ignore the legal BVD testing obligations of farmers in the national eradication programme in the latest tag approval document.

Bert Stewart said the cornerstone of the BVD programme to date has been the efficient sampling and testing approach provided to all farmers through the use of the national ID tag. This has now been fundamentally dismantled by the Department of Agriculture and poses huge challenges in achieving a successful outcome in the BVD Eradication Programme.

The IFA Chairman said the Department of Agriculture cannot wash their hands of their responsibilities in this area and must come forward with strong financial support for farmers who will now be exposed to further complexities and cost increases if BVD is to be eradicated and for farmers to see a return on the €45m spent to date in the programme.

He said it is astounding that in the same week the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed launched the consultation process for a National Farm Animal Health Strategy, his department have taken this step.

He said the tags supplied must provide the basis for all farmers to meet their legal testing obligations in the BVD programme cost effectively.

In relation to the supply of identification tags, he said it is incumbent on the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all suppliers that are approved to supply tags to farmers are in a position to deliver a timely, efficient service with tags that are suitable for Irish livestock production systems with minimal loss rates.

The IFA Chairman said it is vital farmers do not experience any delays in the supply of tags under the new approval approach.

Bert Stewart said the tagging and traceability systems in place in Ireland are the cornerstone of our production standards; the integrity and robustness of this process must be protected at all times by the Department of Agriculture when approving suppliers.

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