IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell said the IFA national council strongly rejects proposals by the TB Forum to increase TB controls and costs on farms, while refusing to address the shortcomings in the current compensation schemes.
Farrell said farmers have had enough of the endless controls and restrictions on their farms by the Department of Agriculture, with no appreciation of the impact.
He said it is now up to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to decide if he is prepared to support farmers who are exposed to his Department’s controls and the associated impact on their farms, or if he is going to push ahead with increasing further these costs and controls.
Farrell said the TB Forum, established by Minister Creed and chaired by Michael Cronin, which aims to involve stakeholders in the decision-making process for the TB eradication programme, has failed to deliver on this key objective.
He said the forum merely functioned as a vehicle for the Department of Agriculture to impose their views of the TB programme on all stakeholders, while continuing to ignore the voice of farmers, who are the single largest contributor to TB eradication.
Farrell said eradication of the disease in the shortest feasible timeframe must be the objective, however, farmers will not accept additional controls until the deficiencies in the current compensation schemes are addressed.
Farrell said farmer costs in the programme have spiralled since 2012, rising by 15%, with all other contributor costs reducing, including the Government’s contribution to the programme.
Farrell said that representatives of the Minister for Agriculture at the forum stated they will not support any increases to compensation rates for farmers. This, he says, has frustrated the work of the forum and prevented any meaningful progress from being made.
Farrell said this approach clearly shows the lack of appreciation and understanding from the Minister's officials of the impact his Department's controls for TB are imposing on farmers and their families.
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