Friday 30 September 2016

Calls for crackdown on BVD offenders

Published 05/07/2016 | 02:30

ICMSA's Pat McCormack
ICMSA's Pat McCormack

The Department of Agriculture has been urged to adapt a name and shame campaign against farmers who persistently hold on to infected animals.

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The latest figures from the national BVD eradication programme show strong progress is being made but more action could be taken if the 'name and shame policy' was fully implemented, urged the ICMSA's Pat McCormack.

Mr McCormack said he was aware that neighbouring farms were notified in only 50pc of the cases where restrictions had been applied.

He said peer pressure was a very significant factor in this kind of situation and the Department had committed to a policy of informing neighbours of those retaining PI calves.

Overall the rate of retention has reduced dramatically since the 2015 rollout of restrictions on farms that keep PI animals.

"Given the success of the on-farm restrictions in making those farmers who had previously retained PIs get rid of them, it makes complete sense to continue ensuring that anyone holding a PI longer than seven weeks is restricted," said Mr McCormack.

"The longer these PIs are retained the longer the programme will continue with farmers losing money through increased testing costs and overall herd health suffering also.

"Allocating the resources that will give us a faster removal will lead to faster eradication. It's a 'win-win' situation for all involved in the programme - farmers, Department and wider industry alike," said Mr McCormack.

The latest figures from Animal Health show 1.85m calves have been tested so far this year, with over 99pc proving negative. The number of calves testing positive is well under a single percentage, with just 3,120 compared with 6,105 during the same period last year.

The number of PIs has further reduced from 5,621 up to the end of June last year, compared with 2,728 this year or less than 0.15pc.

Christmas is coming...

It may be difficult to think of Christmas in the middle of the so-called summer but small poultry producers rearing turkeys and geese have been warned to register.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said all those ordering turkey and goose chicks to rear for the Christmas market must alert their Local Authority's Veterinary Services.

Food safety bosses said to ensure traceability and protect consumer health, all producers who slaughter and sell small quantities of poultry on-farm at Christmas, or any time of the year, are legally obliged to register before placing these products on the market. Over three quarters of a million Irish turkeys are processed in Ireland every year.

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