Suggesting that all animals could be accurately valued on a desktop basis rather than by live vaulations is “ludicrous”, the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association's (ICSA) animal health chair has said.

Hugh Farrell said every farmer has a right to a proper valuation of stock in the event of a TB breakdown, and that this right must be protected.

“Any moves to remove fair and proper valuations from the TB eradication programme will be vigorously opposed by [the] ICSA.

“The suggestion that all animals could be accurately valued on a desktop basis is ludicrous,” he said.

Arrangements are made on an ad-hoc week-by-week basis

Farrell was referring to the On Farm Market Valuation (OFMV) report compiled by Grant Thornton, which suggested that an assessment of an animal’s worth could be generated remotely from a database of market prices.

Rejecting this outright, Farrell insisted: “The on-farm valuation process is a central part of the TB programme and must be available to any farmer who wants it.

Assessed properly

“Farmers work too hard building up their herds for them ever to accept valuations without their stock being seen and assessed properly.”

He added that valuers must be afforded the freedom to fully value animals, particularly when it comes to valuable suckler cows and breeding stock.

Farrell also slammed the assertion that live valuations are causing delays in the removal of reactors.

“Delays are caused by the failure of the Department of Agriculture and the processors to establish contracts for the disposal of these animals in a timely manner,” he said.

“As it stands, arrangements are made on an ad-hoc week-by-week basis and it is this - rather than the live valuation process - that is causing the most significant delays.”