Minister Michael Creed and Ireland’s MEPs are being called on to reject a proposed EU rule that would see 30-day pre-movement testing for TB on herds that are over six months since their last test.

Pat Farrell, the animal health chairperson with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said that the new EU ‘Animal Health Law Delegated Act’ would only benefit “vets and factories at the expense of farmers”.

Farrell said that this proposal was not scientifically based, and would be a “major impediment” to the competitive marketing of animals.

According to Farrell, the new law could cost the Irish TB Eradication Programme an extra €20 million per year.

“Irish farmers contribute more than any other farmers throughout the EU directly to their TB programme, and will not accept this additional cost burden and anti-competitive measure imposed on them that will not contribute to the eradication of the disease,” he argued.

He added that Ireland’s newly elected MEPs have “a critical role to play in protecting Irish farmers from this unscientific, market-distorting and anti-competitive proposal”.

The EU act is currently open for public consultation. Farrell explained that it proposes to implement a regime of 30-day pre-movement testing for animals from herds that are over six months tested, which he said would target the lowest TB risk herds in the country.

“Minister Creed and our MEPs cannot allow the EU to impose this anti-competitive market-distorting expense on Irish farmers who already incur a disproportionate cost burden in the TB programme in comparison to all other farmers throughout the EU,” Farrell continued.

“This measure would [cause] a huge distortion to the sales and marketing of cattle in this country and would impact very negatively on the functioning of our vital live export trade,” he claimed.

Farrell concluded his remarks by saying: “Failure to have this issue addressed by our minister and our MEPs is not an option. Only recently, our MEPs made strong commitments of support to farmers in return for their vote. Farmers will measure these commitments on how this issue is resolved.”