IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has raised the issue of fallen animal collection charges with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and highlighted the exorbitant fees farmers are being charged.
In recent months the charge for rendering a fallen animal has doubled in some places, adding to farm costs.
Mr Stewart has highlighted the fact that Spring is the time of year the largest numbers of animal losses are experienced on farms and the Minister and his officials must have this issue resolved in advance.
Mr Stewart said farmers have been left exposed to an increase in charges both from knackeries and renderers due to the Department of Agriculture’s application of the anti-competitive 125km distant requirement in the over 48 months subsidy scheme.
Rendering charges have been increased to knackeries due to the anti-competitive rule change applied by the Department of Agriculture which removed the most competitive rendering facility on the island for the majority of knackeries.
Prior to this charges for rendering ranged from €50 - €80/t. These have now been increased to €100 - €140/t.
The IFA Chairman said when rendering rates are broken down on an individual animal basis it is clear knackeries have serious question to answer in relation to the element of the charge they are applying. Issues in particular in relation to the salvage value of hide and meat for dogs must also be taken into account, which are a source of income for knackeries.
The Minister has an obligation to ensure that a cost effective fallen animal disposal scheme is available to all farmers. The current scheme is not meeting this objective.
Bert Stewart said the Minister must immediately review the system of fallen animal disposal in operation and investigate the possibility of direct delivery to rendering plants and if necessary provide for subsidised haulage of animals to the rendering facility.
In Ireland there are about 40 licenced knackeries. These are regulated under Irish and EU legislation.