‘A recent change to rules allowing farmers to buy in cattle has been complicated by the addition of extra paperwork and possible additional testing requirements, in respect of animals being moved in’
Sligo News File
ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chairman Hugh Farrell has said that “ICSA is opposing the imposition of pre or post movement testing in relation to TB restricted farmers buying in cattle for further feeding until we have certainty that the Department will pay for these tests.”
Continuing Mr Farrell said, “For several years, farmers who do not have feedlot status have been prevented from buying in cattle while restricted, until such time as they have a clear test. However, with a lot of pressure, a recent change to rules has allowed farmers to buy in cattle. Unfortunately, this has been complicated by the addition of extra paperwork and possible additional testing requirements, in respect of animals being moved in.
“ICSA believes that no farmer should sign up to a pre or post movement test until the Department agrees to pay for it. We are also concerned about all sorts of additional bureaucratic requirements that are making life difficult for farmers who want to buy in stock for finishing. For example, farmers are being asked to provide complicated documentation of where badger sets are located along with detailed maps.
“ICSA stands by the principle that a farmer should only be required to pay for one annual test per annum. This issue of preventing people buying in cattle has long been a contentious issue. ICSA has fought hard to support farmers who need to buy in finishing cattle, and who do not have feedlot status. A farmer who depends on buying in cattle at exactly the right time (depending on availability of grass or fodder, price considerations, length of keep etc) is hugely disadvantaged if they cannot buy in. We have made some progress to get this accepted in principle, but the problem is that we see the Department coming up with bureaucratic barriers to prevent it happening in practice. No one should be entitled to deprive anyone from earning a living.”
Mr Farrell expressed frustration that the TB Forum process was making very slow progress in relation to this and other TB issues. “I fought very hard to get this issue resolved at this week’s TB Implementation Committee. We haven’t had a TB Finance Committee meeting in months due to operational issues. ICSA understands that this is now resolved, and we will fight very hard that new measures cannot be agreed until outstanding financial issues are resolved in tandem.”