The maximum collection fees that knackeries can charge farmers set by the Department of Agriculture are “grossly out of line” with the cost of rendering, according to IFA health chair Pat Farrell.

Farrell said the gap left farmers throughout the country exposed to higher disposal costs in the absence of competition between knackeries.

In addition to the collection fees, he said the Department was providing knackeries direct subvention towards the cost of rendering.

The entire area of animal disposal needed to be revisited, as the current system was clearly not the most cost-efficient, Farrell said.


He pointed to a rendering charge of €4 for calves, while farmers could be charged up to €30 by knackeries. Another anomaly, according to Farrell, was a 500kg two- to four-year-old animal costing €50 to render, but up to €100 for farmers.

The value generated by knackeries in salvage from the carcases was not being returned to farmers, Farrell said.

The resumption of collections was a huge relief to farmers, Farrell said, adding that farmers had been used as pawns by the knackeries in their dispute with the Department.

Revised scheme

However, he stressed that the revised Fallen Animal Scheme protected the interests of the three rendering plants and licenced knackeries at the expense of farmers.

Farrell said: “This scheme fails to reduce the costs of disposal for farmers and its voluntary nature fails to provide a guaranteed collection service for all farmers.”

The revised scheme sets out the maximum fees knackeries can charge farmers. Farrell said it was critically important they should not be interpreted as the going rate for collections.

He said farmers should not accept maximum fees. He said they should instead demand a reduction on those previously charged to take into account the direct financial support the Department would now provide to knackeries.

The IFA has called on the Department to fully review the disposal of fallen animals to identify the most cost-efficient means to have animals removed from farms.

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