30-day pre-movement TB test ‘could cost farmers €20 million’

Irish MEPs have been urged to reject the EU proposal for a 30-day pre-movement TB test for animals from herds that are over six months’ tested.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) animal health chairman, Pat Farrell, has said that over the coming days is “one of the last opportunities to remove this unnecessary, anti-competitive measure that impacts disproportionately on Irish farmers”.

Farrell continued: “The IFA has highlighted the negative impact of this measure on farmers, the mart trade and potentially our live exports since early 2019 with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and our MEPs.”

He said that the IFA has again contacted MEPs to have the proposed delegated act of this regulation amended to allow animals be traded within Ireland that are within 12 months of a TB test.

Pat Farrell said the amendment – sought by IFA – “provides member states with flexibility for movements within the country while allowing importing countries continue with the existing 30-day export test requirement”.

If allowed to come into effect, the measure will cost the Irish TB programme up to €20 million in unnecessary testing costs alone.

The IFA’s animal health chairman stressed: “This is a critical issue for Irish farmers which, if not addressed, will severely impact on our ability to competitively market our animals while jeopardising the future viability of our livestock marts and potentially the viability of our vital live export trade.”

Concluding, Farrell said: “Farmers will not accept this unnecessary anti-competitive measure being imposed on them. Our MEPs must stand firm in reflecting this position and ensure the changes necessary to the proposed delegated act are applied.”