23 JULY 2019
ICSA Animal Health & Welfare chair Hugh Farrell has said the recent report from the TB Forum is incomplete in its current form and that the TB Forum still has much work to do. “ICSA accepts that a partial report of the TB Forum has been delivered to Minister Creed. However, the report remains substantially incomplete as the Forum has not reached any agreement regarding the financial aspects of the TB Eradication Programme. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” he said.
Continuing Mr Farrell said, “While Minister Creed has said he welcomes the report and ‘will be closely examining the proposals set out within it’, it is remiss of the Minister to say he will now be directing his officials ‘to immediately commence the development of a renewed TB Eradication Strategy.’
“The work of the TB Forum involves two core strands. These are; Disease Policy and Compensation. While elements of the disease policy strand were agreed, none of the compensation issues have been resolved. A cost benefit analysis of the entire TB Eradication Programme has been commissioned by the Department on behalf of the Forum. This analysis will no doubt incur a significant cost and we must await its findings to progress the work of the Forum.”
“From the outset, ICSA has been resolute that disease policy and the overall financing of the TB Eradication Programme, including compensation measures, are inextricably linked. However, we have been frustrated by the Department’s lack of willingness to engage on compensation issues while they continued to push forward with disease policy measures that impose more restrictions on farmers. This report which focuses on disease policy alone is testament to that.”
Concluding Mr Farrell said, “It is clear further meetings of the TB Forum will be required to produce a final report which includes all aspects of the work of the Forum. Moving ahead with a renewed TB Eradication Strategy must not be considered at this time.”