TB infected cattle are remaining on farms for 27 days following positive tests, according to latest data from the Department of Agriculture.
It comes after questioning from Fianna Fail TD, Brendan Smith as to whether there have been incidents of diseased animals remaining on farms for undue periods due to delays on his Department's part in finalising valuations.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said in 2016 the average number of days for reactors to be removed was 27.9 days which is below the legal requirement of 30 days set down in EU legislation.
He said his Department endeavours to have reactors removed from a holding as quickly as possible and said it provides a fully State funded reactor removal service to facilitate this.
However, he said there are many factors beyond the control of the Department which may delay the removal of reactors.
“These include delays on the part of the herdowner in accepting a valuation, the need to comply with EU regulations prohibiting the transport of animals in late stages of pregnancy or having recently calved, the medication of animals shortly before the skin test etc.
“My Department does not believe that such delays constitute a risk to other animals in the herds because farmers are required by law to segregate reactors from the rest of the herd and to take other biosecurity precautions thereby mitigating the risk of the spread of disease,” he said.
The Minister was also questioned if all valuers that are on his Department's approved list of valuers are experienced in the cattle trade and in the sale and purchase of animals and up to date with livestock valuations.
He said following a competitive tender process, my department issued contracts to 73 valuers from November 1, 2016.
“Tenders were evaluated on the technical and professional abilities identified by the candidates in their application, and on a demonstration of their expertise in the area of bovine livestock evaluation and assessment.
“Valuers also undertook training before the start of their contract and are required under the Terms and Conditions of their contract to keep up to date with market prices and trends in livestock breeding.
“I am satisfied that all these factors combine to ensure that valuers are qualified to carry out their role under the On Farm Market Valuation Scheme,” he said.