The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has said it has not agreed to and could never agree to new TB testing requirements without clarity on who’ll pay for them.
ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell warned that the Department of Agriculture has rolled out the new TB testing regulations under the European Animal Health Law without the agreement of stakeholders.
“I want to make it clear that ICSA has not agreed to this and that we could never agree to this until the financial responsibility of this additional testing was determined. This is a position we have stated time and time again at the TB forum,” he said.
Farrell described it as “very regrettable” that the department “have taken it upon themselves to issue details of the new testing requirements without any mention of who is paying for this testing”.
“ICSA has been consistent in its stance that farmers pay for one annual herd test - and one test only. As far as we are concerned this is a fundamental principle of the TB eradication programme, and it must be maintained.
“Unfortunately, once again we are seeing farmers being burdened with additional testing demands, the finer details of which have not been signed off by the TB forum, most notably who will pay,” he said.
The ICSA animal health chair called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to “have an honest dialogue with farmers on this issue” where he clarifies whether he “expect[s] them to pay for additional TB testing or not”.
“This question needs to be answered, and it needs to be answered by the Minister prior to any roll out of new mandatory testing regulations,” insisted Farrell.