30-day pre-movement TB test: EU agri committee to seek extension

The EU’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will ask for an extension to the period to lodge an objection to a delegated act on the proposed Animal Health Act.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels today, Wednesday, January 22, Midlands – North West MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan welcomed the outcome where the AGRI Committee will ask for an extension on the period to lodge an objection to the EU proposal for a 30-day pre-movement TB test for animals from herds that are over six months’ tested.

If passed, this delegated act – pertaining to the Animal Health Act – would have meant that all animals would have to undergo a 30-day pre-movement test, unless the animal came from a herd that had a clear test in the last six months.

The extension of the period to lodge an objection will mean more time and opportunity to work with the commission and other stakeholders to achieve a better outcome for Irish agriculture.

Commenting on the move, Flanagan said: “While this extension is welcome, the blunt approach contained in the delegated act of a blanket 30-day testing regime would not address the issues in Ireland regarding TB eradication.

97% of Irish herds have not had a TB outbreak in years, imposing a 30-day test on all herds pre movement is not an optimal use of a scarce resource.

Continuing, the Roscommon man said: “The original proposal in the regulation would have imposed a 30-day test irrespective of when the last test was carried out.

“It was due to engagement and negotiation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials – who secured the derogation – that the pre-movement test was not required where the herd had a clear test in the previous six months.

The work must continue now in the next two months to ensure the Animal Health Act does not include restrictive articles that will undermine the implementation of the program in place to eradicate TB by 2030.

“Cost benefit analysis by the Department of Agriculture has shown that a targeted approach where TB is a persistent issue will yield much better results.

“This type of a more targeted approach will also get a much broader and genuine stakeholder ‘buy in’ and involvement, vital for the success in this type of programme.”

Concluding, Flanagan said: “The approach adopted by the committee would give time for all stakeholders to engage with the issue and reassess the options that are available.”