New rules governing how farmers can buy wormers and antibiotics should become law in about four weeks’ time, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the Irish Farmers Journal.
If the Minister’s proposals pass in their current form, farmers will need a prescription to buy cattle and sheep wormers, as well as having only five days to buy antibiotics prescribed to them by their vet.
An electronic national veterinary prescription system will allow the Department of Agriculture to see how much doses and antibiotics individual farmers are using in real time.
The passing of the fertiliser and veterinary medicine bill before Christmas would allow the Department to have its plans to introduce fertiliser database tracking the movement of fertilisers and lime on to farms in operation by 1 January too.
The Minister stated to the Irish Farmers Journal that he is still consulting with representative bodies concerned, as the 19 recommendations he received from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture are considered.
“I got the report back from [the committee] last week and I want to move it on quickly,” Minister McConalogue said.
“We are continuing to engage with stakeholders in relation to some of the workings and how we will make it work, but I want to conclude it promptly and bring the legislation through.”
“I want to have that completed by Christmas,” he added.
Minister McConalogue also said that issues raised with aspects of the new law are being examined by the State’s legal team.
“We have sought further advice from the Attorney General now in relation to further legal submissions we have received,” he continued.
“We are looking at options and we are also securing some further legal advice in relation to narrowing down what those options are.”
The Minister stated that it was not clear what the likelihood is of allowing qualified merchants to continue to prescribe cattle and sheep doses.