Farmers entered the scheme voluntarily in 2012. The technical working group responsible for the oversight of the programme has suggested that farmers should now pay for an additional final year of tissue testing.
“The proposal is outlandish given that these farmers voluntarily agreed to enter the scheme in 2012 and were given a clear commitment that the programme was to be a three-year programme and no longer,” said Mr McCormack. “Farmers have met the conditions in full, invested in the scheme on that basis, and are now being told you will have to do another year. Hovering over all this is the TB experience, which provides a very serious example of where things can go wrong.”
The ICMSA deputy president said that Animal Health Ireland must stand by its three-year commitment in the interests of their credibility among farmers. If extra testing is required at this stage, ICMSA believes that it should be paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
Mr McCormack was also highly critical of the announcement that the Department of Agriculture’s regional veterinary laboratories are to move to a 23% Vat rate as and from March 31 as well as introducing a waste disposal fee in addition to the existing postmortem fee.
He said that anything that dissuaded farmers from using the regional veterinary laboratories was, of necessity, negative and he pointed out that when all the new charges and increases were totalled it was now apparent the overall charge to farmers availing of the regional veterinary laboratories had effectively trebled over a short period.