Meat factories turning away animals as vets' work to rule continues

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Some meat factories are facing major disruptions as they begin killing again and a work to rule by Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) continues.

Meat Industry Ireland, the meat factories representative body, has condemned the ongoing work to rule by Temporary Veterinary Inspectors.

Thousands of cattle, sheep and pigs went unslaughtered in what should be one of the busiest weeks of the year for meat factories, the week before Christmas, as meat factories were unable to slaughter to full capacity as a number of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) continued a work to rule in factories.

It's understood that at least five cattle, sheep and pig factories were affected today by the ongoing work to rule with the kill reduced by 50pc in some cases.

Factories saw the slaughter line being stopped for periods and the kill being suspended during the day, with some factories having to cancel cattle loads that had been booked in.
Meat Industry Ireland strongly criticised the ongoing disruption to normal processing operations in a number of meat plants due to industrial action by TVIs.

"There has been a serious intensification of disruptive activity over the last fortnight, in this dispute between Veterinary Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. While processors are not involved in this dispute, they are nonetheless caught in the middle,” it said.

“Some plants are facing major disruption, leading to significant losses for these businesses. Plants have been unable to undertake scheduled processing activity and others are forced to operate at restricted levels compared to normal throughout.

"Animal deliveries have had to be turned back or cancelled, impacting on farmers as well. Disruption to normal pig processing will very quickly lead to welfare issues at farm level. This unacceptable disruptive activity has also left customers short during what is already a challenging time of the year for scheduling fresh deliveries.”

It called for a responsible approach to be adopted and an immediate end to unacceptable disruption to normal processing operations. This is impacting on the businesses caught in the middle, their staff, farmer suppliers and customers. We need both parties (Veterinary Ireland and DAFM) at the table immediately to resolve this issue.”

The row centers around a number of issues concerning the TVI panel. Vets say a moratorium on recruitment onto the TVI panel means there is a shortage of approximately 150 vets to carry out factory work.

Veterinary Ireland and the Department of Agriculture have been contacted for a statement.

Online Editors