Call for dairy levies to prevent Johnes being 'next BSE'
Experts are warning that Johnes could be 'another BSE' if resources are not directed at tackling the disease.
The President of the Irish Veterinary Council, Bill Cashman, said that Johnes was a "rumbling volcano" and that Ireland "risked falling behind the curve" in terms of control of the disease.
"I'm really afraid that farmers are heading into an expansionary phase when they'll be under more pressure and have less time to pay attention to detail.
"This disease takes up to 10 years to manifest itself, and I'm worried that if we don't get to grips with this now that we'll end up with another BSE situation," he said.
With dairy levies deducted from farmers' milk cheques set to break the €20m mark, calls are mounting for more of the cash to be diverted into the fight against diseases such as Johnes and IBR.
A 15pc increase in milk supplies in 2015 looks set to swell the coffers of the farm bodies and State agencies such as Teagasc with an additional €3m of levies creamed off dairy farmer receipts.
Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board), Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture are the three main beneficiaries of the 0.336c in statutory levies that were deducted from every one of the 5.6bn litres of milk that was supplied last year.
An additional voluntary levy of 0.15pc of milk value is deducted for farm bodies such as the IFA, Macra and the ICMSA.