ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chair Hugh Farrell has called on Minister McConalogue to defer the introduction of new TB cattle testing rules until there is agreement on financing the testing and until there is a plan to properly inform buyers of the status of animals on mart boards.
“The Minister needs to understand that these new pre and post movement testing rules are causing chaos in the mart trade already and there is widespread confusion about what are the requirements. ICSA has endeavoured to explain that farmers can continue to sell in marts as usual from 1 February onwards, but the fact remains that farmers are totally confused about where they stand. It is also important to reiterate that this only applies to animals over 36 months or to breeding animals.
There are particular problems for buyers of cattle. The animal might be tested in the new herd and sold on in a subsequent mart sale but how is the next buyer to know what the position is in relation to the six-month herd test rule? Will the mart board be capable of giving accurate information in all circumstances?
These issues need further thrashing out. The question of financing this still hasn’t been resolved and ICSA is demanding that all tests outside of the annual herd test are funded by the state. Minister McConalogue needs to get on top of this before it spirals out of control and the first thing he must do is defer the introduction.”