Farmers have been handed a reprieve from the introduction of controversial new rules on the sale of animal health medicines, with the Department extending the transition period until legislation is finalised.

The new regime was due to come into force from next Thursday (1 December) but was stalled when serious doubts regarding the legislation were expressed by the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.

Once the legislation is completed, an implementation date will be announced.

The proposed restrictions, which aim to tackle anti-microbial resistance, require farmers purchasing a range of antiparasitic treatments such as wormers and doses to have first received a prescription from a vet.

This change was strongly opposed by the farm organisations, licensed merchants, co-ops and pharmacies.