'We should make haste slowly before closing down knackeries' - Creed

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Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Ireland should make haste slowly before closing down knackeries due to the critical function they play in the farming community for the disposal of fallen animals, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

His comments come following an RTE Investigates programme last week which showed some knackeries euthanising greyhounds. A review is currently taking place on the issuing of licences to knackeries in Ireland on the back of the broadcast.

Minister Creed pointed out in the Dail that while the RTE programme highlighted the “grotesquely offensive practices” of some knackeries and “shortcomings in our regulations”, he said they play a very important role in Irish agriculture.

“The Department is examining all those issues in the operation of knackeries which serve a very important function in the broader agrifood sector, particularly for the livestock sector in respect of fallen animals,” Minister Creed told the Dail.

“In terms of closing down knackeries, we should make haste slowly. They perform a really critical function. There may be breaches of regulations or there may be weaknesses in the law as regards how they operate in the disposal of pets and that is an issue we will examine.

“They play an important role in combatting illegal burial or the dumping of fallen stock, and are a vital conduit between the herd owner and the Department for traceability of all fallen bovines by their submission of documentation to the animal identification and movement system.”

He added that knackeries also serve as centres at which the Department can carry out statutory BSE and TSE sampling on cattle and sheep which serves to underpin Ireland's bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, TSE, status and is a necessary part of the surveillance needed to ensure compliance with EU rules.

He said that official controls are carried out in the knackeries by Department veterinary personnel to ensure compliance with the EU and national animal by-product regulations and also compliance with the specific operational conditions.

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“The Department carries out, on an ongoing basis, audits and routine and-or unannounced inspections at the category 2 intermediate plants. In addition, Department inspectors take samples from dead cattle and sheep at knackeries for the purpose of disease surveillance under EU Regulation 999/2001.”

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