Ireland has dodged some restrictive new EU TB testing rules, but may not be able to avoid new compulsory testing around many of the country’s 2.2 million or so annual cattle movements.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has revealed there is only very limited support from other member states for Ireland’s opposition to the EU proposal of compulsory 30-day pre/post movement TB testing.
Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Creed clarified that there is no EU proposal for two TB herd tests per year, and that current EU TB proposals are not related to requirements of the Chinese beef market.
He said, “The original proposals from the EU Commission were quite severe, and would have had a significant negative impact on Irish farmers.” They included a 12-month minimum TB restriction period; no inward/outward movement in restricted herds; derestriction only after two clear tests six months apart; and the 30-day pre/post movement test in all cases.
But, after negotiations, only the 30-day pre/post movement test requirement remains on the table for Ireland, and only where the animal and the herd of origin were not tested in the last six months.
If Ireland is forced to adopt this new rule, cattle movements would have to take place within six months of the herd test, or the herdowner (buyer or seller) must have a pre/post movement test carried out. Many of the 2.2 million or so annual cattle movements (including farm-to-farm and farm-to-mart-to-farm movements) would be affected, said Minister Creed.
His officials proposed risk-based movement testing, saying this would be more effective than across-the-board movement testing. “There has been very limited support from other Member States for our position”, said Minister Creed, responding to a Dáil questions from Independent TD for Offaly Carol Nolan.