The Department of Agriculture has been heavily criticised by all sides over its handling of a dispute with knackeries over financial support for the sector.

Knackeries have ceased collecting fallen animals and will fully close their gates on Thursday.

An amended Fallen Animal Scheme was announced by the Department last night which capped the collection fee which knackeries could charge farmers. The Animal Collector’s Association (ACA) immediately rejected the scheme stating a proper support package was needed.

The ACA said it had outlined what package was required to the Department and operations would remain closed until the Department came forward with an appropriate scheme.


Farm organisations have also been critical of the Department.

IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell said the Department could not shirk its responsibility on fallen animals.

It was legislatively bound to ensure an efficient and competitive infrastructure was available to all farmers, Farrell said.

“The scheme announced last night fails to reduce the costs of disposal for farmers and its voluntary nature doesn’t provide a guaranteed collection service for all farmers,” he said.

“Farmers cannot be left without a service. We need Minister Creed to step up and sort out the deadlock that exists.”

Pat Farrell said the Department had protected the interests of the three rendering plants and licensed knackeries at the expense of farmers. He called for the scheme to be revisited to address the issues of a reduction in collection charges and guaranteed collection.


Claims the Department had engaged with stakeholders were rejected by Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) animal health chair Hugh Farrell.

“While we have met with the Department on this issue, our understanding was that the scheme was still under negotiation and further consultation was required to devise a scheme that would be acceptable to all sides.

“As it is, this has not been achieved,” he said

Protection of a nationwide knackery service available to farmers at a reasonable price was supposed to be the primary goal of talks, Hugh Farrell said.

“We now face a situation whereby the knackeries are unhappy and have stopped collection services and farmers face the prospect of significant increases in the cost of disposal of dead animals.”

The premature announcement of the scheme was likely to cause “more division and disruption”. Hugh Farrell called for an urgent meeting between all stakeholders to reach a workable compromise.

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