Speaking following a meeting with senior officials of the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, Pat McCormack, Deputy President and Chairperson of ICMSA’s Dairy Committee, said that the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine must not implement the current proposals regarding TB compensation as they represent a further blow to farmers who are unfortunate enough to have a TB outbreak on the their farm.
In relation to the proposals, Mr. McCormack said that it is unacceptable that the valuation of a single animal would be carried out at a Department official’s desk without any view of the animal in question. He said it is essential that each animal removed under the TB programme continues to be valued by an independent valuer in the farmers yard to ensure that the farmer get a fair value for his/her animal based on a full assessment of the animal and not merely a desk exercise as proposed by the Department. In relation to the reactor collection service and statutory levies, Mr McCormack said the cost of this service must continue to be borne by the Department: “Under the TB programme, the farmer has no option and the animal must be removed from the holding at a considerable loss, in many cases, to the farmer in question. To impose additional costs on the unfortunate farmer is simply grossly unfair”, noted Mr McCormack.
Mr. McCormack concluded by observing that the Departmental proposal to remove the requirement to place the TB test date on the cattle passport is a very retrograde step and should not happen. “The Department constantly preach to farmers to purchase stock from reputable sources and this proposal runs totally counter to this advice by removing a valuable source of information for people purchasing stock. It is essential that the TB test date remains on the card. Farmer goodwill is absolutely essential to the TB programme and if the Minister wishes to retain the goodwill of farmers he will not be proceeding with the current proposals”, stated Mr. McCormack.