Tougher TB rules could be in pipeline
EU pressure could force automatic restrictions despite furore
TB rULES are set to be tightened further despite the furore over the increased restrictions introduced on January 1 this year.
Department of Agriculture officials claim the latest restrictions are necessary to prevent the European Union imposing a blanket pre-movement test on all animals.
However, Department sources have revealed the next raft of restrictions may see farmers with herds found to be overdue for testing facing an immediate restriction on buying or selling stock from or to other farmers.
While the eradication of TB is trumpeted as the main driver behind the tighter restrictions, budgetary pressures appear to be an increasingly important consideration.
Up to €38m is spent on controlling TB in Ireland every year, €16m of which comes from the EU.
However, mart managers are continuing to report cases of farmers being caught unawares by the new regulations and paying dearly as a result.
"I've had farmers who only discovered that they were locked up after they had sold their animals," said Sixmilebridge Mart manager, Sean Ryan.