ICSA TO MEET WITH DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS FOLLOWING PROTEST TODAY AT ATHLONE RVL

1 MARCH 2017

ICSA will meet with Department of Agriculture officials this afternoon following today’s protest in opposition to the possible closure of the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Coosan, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Speaking ahead of the meeting ICSA Westmeath chairman Dan Lynam said “We have questions as to how this ludicrous proposal could ever work. For example, should these facilities be shut down, who will cover the cost of transporting dead animals to Dublin? We also need to know how many of the labs, including Backweston, can facilitate lorry loads of dead animals without investment?”

Continuing Mr Lynam said he would be asking the review committee “In the event of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease or any other infectious disease, what will be the implications of transporting infectious carcasses across the country? This would surely be a bio security risk. The movement of dead animals should be kept to an absolute minimum. It facilitates the spread of disease more than anything else. One has to remember that the beef and sheep trade is worth several billion to the economy and we have to protect that. We need to be prepared for any future challenges in the sector. Shipping dead carcasses around the country just makes no sense on any level.”

Also attending the meeting with the review committee will be ICSA Roscommon chairman Ger Grehan who said “Closing down the lab here in Athlone, or any other of the regional labs, would be hugely detrimental to animal welfare and short sighted in the extreme. ICSA will be keeping up the pressure to ensure the labs can continue to provide the valuable service they do.”

ENDS