Bovine TB scheme plans ‘unworkable’

PROPOSED changes to the bovine TB eradication scheme have been described by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) as “a minefield of bureaucracy”.

Malcolm Thompson, president, said the changes proposed by the Department of Agriculture could do untold damage to suckler farmers countrywide.

“The proposals were introduced thinly camouflaged as a concession to farmers who killed cattle which had exceeded 12 months since their last TB test. In reality however, they give no concessions, but rather are an unworkable nightmare.”

Mr Thompson said the ICSA has negotiated tirelessly over the years for concessions on TB eradication, pointing out that after 50 years of testing Ireland seems no closer to eradicating the disease. He called on farmers to examine what is being proposed and get behind the ICSA to overturn the proposal.

Separately, the association is calling on all farmers to continue withholding cattle for slaughter where possible until a significant price rise is secured.

ICSA beef committee chairman Seán Scully said farmers can no longer put up with the prices of 20 years ago. “Unless we see a commitment from processors to beef farmers, there is no point inproducing. Everywhere I go farmers are sick and tired of losing money.”

Urging all farmers not to co-operate with factories, he said anybody who sells at current low prices is fooling himself and undermining his fellow farmer.

Meanwhile, the ICSA’s annual conference, postponed last month due to the flooding, is rescheduled for Thursday, January 7, at the Strand Hotel, Limerick at 7.30pm.

The theme is, What a difference a year makes: Agriculture’s role in national economic recovery.

Speakers will include Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith, Michael Creed TD, (FG), Seán Sherlock, TD, (Labour), and Jim O’Leary, professor of economics, NUI Maynooth.

Gabriel Gilmartin, from Ballintrillick, Co Sligo, will take over as president.


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