IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell has said that Ireland’s medicines regime is robust following a report on the issue of antibiotics sales on RTÉs Prime Time on the island of Ireland on Tuesday 6 April.
In the report, secret video footage was shown of individuals being able to purchase what should have been prescription-only animal medicine in Northern Ireland without any proof of ID or a herd number and in breach of veterinary guidelines on both sides of the border, which state that animals on a farm must first be under the care of a vet before any medicine can be dispensed.
The secret footage was also reported on in February by the Irish Farmers Journal following an investigation into the sale of animal antibiotics in Northern Ireland.
Prime Time spoke to a number of individuals, including Veterinary Ireland president Conor Geraghty, who highlighted his concerns and the concerns of the industry that animal medicines would be coming from Northern Ireland to farms south of the border.
However, the IFA has hit back at this and said that comments by some veterinary reps are “commercially motivated”.
Ireland already has a robust system where pharmacies and licensed merchants play a crucial role in servicing some of the animal health needs of farmers
Pat Farrell said that the claims were “unfounded” and “spurious” and pointed to the fact that all official reporting showed that antibiotic use on farms had reduced considerably.
"Comments by Veterinary Ireland reps on the programme about 'industrial type farms' and alleging the illegal importation of veterinary medicines from Northern Ireland are grossly misleading,” Farrell said.
"The Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, must resist the concerted effort by the veterinary lobby to restrict access to all veterinary medicines to vets only, which could result in a dangerous conflict of interest," he said.
"Ireland already has a robust system where pharmacies and licensed merchants play a crucial role in servicing some of the animal health needs of farmers. They provide advice and guidance on certain issues and can sell some products under strict controls. The system is working, and there is no need to change it."