Time to scrap final costly Brucellosis test
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
Farm bodies have urged Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to scrap the pre-movement Brucellosis test after the island of Ireland was declared free of the disease.
Northern Ireland was last week officially declared Brucellosis-free leading to calls for stringent restrictions on the movement of animals over 24 months of age to be removed.
Both the IFA and the ICMSA said the decision needed to be made swiftly as the disease has caused hardship on farms for many years.
The Republic was given Brucellosis-free status in 2009, with tests being scaled back since then. The Agriculture Department intends to discontinue pre-movement testing later this year.
The IFA's animal health chair Bert Stewart said Brucellosis has imposed severe costs and hardship on individual farmers. He said the scrapping of the over-24 months tests would remove the last farmer testing requirement for the disease.
"When combined with the cessation of herd testing, this will be worth €6m in savings annually to farmers," he said.
The ICMSA's Pat McCormack said they understsood the minister intended to make the change but it needed to take place immediately to ensure savings for farmers.
However, Mr McCormack said it was essential the Department continues its monitoring for the disease at meat plants.
"The other thing to remember is that while this is a very significant milestone as regards animal health it is essential that we continue to exercise caution in relation to animal disease, because we know to our cost the impact of animal disease outbreaks at farm level."