PROGRESS AT TB FORUM WHILE CONTENTIOUS ISSUES REMAIN

6 NOVEMBER 2018

ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chairman Hugh Farrell has said that contentious issues remain as the TB Forum continues to debate DAFM proposals to reform the TB Eradication Programme. Commenting on developments so far, Mr Farrell said, “We have received assurances from the Department that a target of seven days is now in place for the removal of reactor cattle. A streamlining of this process is welcome as any delay can exacerbate the potential for further spread of the disease.”

ICSA is continuing to push for compensation levels that adequately reflect the impact of the loss of the animal/animals to the farming enterprise. “When it comes to breeding stock there has to be flexibility in the system to allow valuers give an honest and true assessment of what an animal is worth. The value of top quality suckler and dairy cows, show calibre stock and pedigree animals cannot be ascertained by looking at average mart prices.

Breeding animals can be worth several hundred euros in excess of the typical price given. In this regard, ICSA has also voiced concerns that undue pressure is being put on valuers to avoid giving the real value of high calibre cow or heifer. ICSA is very insistent that the independence and expertise of valuers should be respected by the Department,” said Mr Farrell.

The proposal by DAFM to display herd TB history at marts has yet to be substantively tackled at the forum, however, Mr Farrell remains adamant that “ICSA opposes herd health history being displayed because the repercussions of such a move would seriously undermine the business of such farmers. We have made it clear at every opportunity that the forum must help chart a future direction that will be sensitive to farmers’ needs while being effective in terms of TB eradication. Destroying livelihoods in the process cannot be countenanced.”

Mr Farrell said this was particularly relevant as “Progress with the wildlife strategy is crucial to any strategy to eliminate TB. We must see tangible improvements in this area and would caution against moving too quickly to badger vaccination over culling. Control and culling of wild deer will also be essential if we are serious about the 2030 target to eliminate TB without unnecessarily punishing farmers trying to make a living.”

ENDS