Farmers and vets are becoming increasingly concerned about the volume of data that the Department of Agriculture will hold on vet visits and use of veterinary medicines on their farms.

Under the proposed new legislation, vets will need to prescribe licensed medicines like worm dosing and fly treatments to farmers after 1 June 2022.

Farmers will then be free to purchase the products where they like, but merchants fear that this won’t happen.

An extension was granted in January 2022 to allow road testing of the new National Veterinary Prescribing System, but no testing with merchants has taken place.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, secretary general of the Irish Licensed Merchant Association, Ian Scott, told the Irish Farmers Journal: “We have had no correspondence from the Department of Agriculture in the last two months. We are left in limbo as to what is going to happen on 1 June 2022. Our shop layout needs to change.

“Licensed merchants are fully supportive of the responsible use of licensed medicines, but we need to get training on the new system. We have heard nothing on it. It’s a shambles and it’s going to put people out of business,” he said.

Purchasing directly

Seán O’Mahony, a Cork based agricultural merchant told the Irish Farmers Journal: “We work in a predominantly dairying area in Cork. In springtime, I would have had a steady business supplying to customers intra-mammary antibiotics dispensed on foot of a current valid veterinary prescription. Since the introduction of the new system on the 28 January, recently we have supplied no intra-mammary antibiotics to customers.

“Following enquiries, the customers said they purchased the products directly from their local veterinary practices where they got the prescriptions.

“Because of this situation, I have already ceased stocking intra-mammary lactating tubes. It’s very likely that the very same thing will happen with animal dosing products on 1 June,” O’Mahony said.