Minister Must Resolve TB Restriction Issue

At a meeting last week, IFA President John Bryan said he left the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in no doubt the responsibility rests with him to resolve the outstanding issue of the trade restrictions being imposed as part of the changes in the TB Eradication Programme.


“It is time the Minister took control of this issue and honours the commitments given to IFA officers in the West this week to address the 4-month restriction rule. Any changes must not disrupt the day-to-day running of farms. The least the Minister can do is address the outstanding concern, and secure the continued goodwill of farmers for the Eradication Programme.”


The IFA Animal Health Project Team John Waters said, “Hard-won progress has been made on aspects of the new controls, which reduces the burden and limits the possibility of penalties and sanctions. The commitment given that no herdowner will be notified to have a contiguous test 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 being taken.”


The commitment given by the Department in relation to flexibility on test dates allows farmers agree an alternative date with their DVO, and avoid penalties or sanctions. In addition, the Department’s agreement to remove the anomalies in relation to the payment for tests establishes a fairer and more equitable application of the rules. It ensures that no farmer will be exposed to payment for a herd test at intervals shorter than ten months. However, this period must be extended to twelve months.


The Department have also agreed to facilitate the purchase-in of animals without the necessity to acquire a permit and remove concerns about the trade status of animals that may be restricted.


Concluding, John Waters said, “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.”

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