Vets claim €200m gain from meat factory upgrade
The agriculture industry would gain a minimum of €200m annually if better animal health monitoring facilities were installed in meat plants.
Following the successful installation of disease monitoring equipment in Slaney Meats' new abattoir in Bunclody, Co Wexford, veterinary leaders believe that the recording and feedback of common diseases evident on carcasses would save farmers millions every year in better animal performance.
Slaney Meats' managing director, Rory Fanning, said that the system cost less than €100,000 to install but that it was already generating significant savings for farmers and the plant through better disease management systems.
Veterinary Ireland chief executive, Finbarr Murphy, said that liver fluke, pneumonia and pregnant animals being slaughtered were the main problem areas.
Liver fluke is by far the biggest issue, with only 25pc of beef livers salvageable. Mr Murphy claimed that 73pc of the national beef herd were affected by the disease, costing beef farmers €93m a year.
He said dairy farmers were losing almost the same amount because of the disease.
Veterinary Ireland believes that at least €90m of these losses are preventable through more targeted fluke prevention programmes.
The veterinary body added that spending €16/hd on pneumonia vaccinations for 1.2m cattle would generate savings of €36-113m.