The inclusion of the IBR testing requirement in the National Beef Welfare Scheme by the Department of Agriculture without adequate consultation is a significant breach of trust, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) national animal health chair TJ Maher has said.

“The IFA has consistently advocated for a collaborative approach among all stakeholders, including [the Department] and Animal Health Ireland (AHI), to address critical issues affecting animal health in Ireland.

"The inclusion of IBR testing in the National Beef Welfare Scheme and the lack of consideration for farmers' concerns is the direct opposite of that,” Maher said.

As part of the recently announced scheme, farmers are required to complete IBR testing in order to qualify for payment.

The inclusion of this measure is effectively a payment to service providers instead of farmers, the IFA said.

TJ Maher also expressed his disappointment with the public support offered by AHI to the IBR testing measure, as it is directly at odds with the views of its stakeholders.


"AHI's public commentary welcoming the inclusion of the IBR testing measure, despite our open rejection of it, is deeply disappointing. We are seeking clarity on how they arrived at a position that directly contradicts the concerns raised by farmers.

"The inclusion of this measure in the scheme also fundamentally undermines the agreed approach of all stakeholders, including the Department of Agriculture, in relation to how non-statutory diseases would be dealt with in this country,” he said.

The IFA is seeking a meeting with AHI to raise the concerns of farmers in relation to the issue.

“Credibility with farmers is vital for the success of all AHI animal health programmes.

"Farmers' concerns must always be taken into account in relation to any animal health initiatives and it's very disappointing that these were forgotten by both [the Department] and AHI in relation to the inclusion of the IBR testing requirement,” he concluded.