Hopes for a deal with work-to-rule vets
Veterinary representatives are hopeful of a breakthrough in their dispute with the Department of Agriculture when they meet with them this week.
Veterinary Ireland, the union representing the vets who have been working-to-rule on processing lines in meat factories for the past week, has developed a set of 'better value for money' proposals. These include an offer to generate data for farmers on the levels of liver, rumen fluke and lung lesion levels in carcasses.
"We believe that many farmers are losing more than €100 a year on each of their animals due to sub-clinical levels of pneumonia that they never know about," said Veterinary Ireland president Donal Lynch.
Mr Lynch said that by using the kind of handheld technology that vets routinely use when testing cattle, that sub-clinical levels of disease could be fed back to farmers.
It is estimated that the Department would save €5m a year by replacing vets costing €68/hr on meat lines with trained agricultural officers. However, Mr Lynch contended that the vets could still offer better value for money.
"Keeping vets on the lines will be a win-win scenario for farmers, the Department and, of course, the vets themselves," Mr Lynch said.