Changes to draft TB regulations ‘to the benefit of farmers’ – Creed

New bovine TB rules are in the Delegated Act (DA) on Part II of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on surveillance, eradication programmes and free status of animal diseases.

The original proposals from the EU Commission were described by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, as “quite severe” and cause to have “significant negative impact” on Irish farmers.

Also Read: 30-day pre-movement TB test imminent for some farms

Meanwhile, the original draft proposals included:

  • 12 month minimum TB restriction period; 
  • Prohibition on any inward/outward movement in restricted herds;
  • De-restriction only to occur following two clear tests six months apart;
  • Compulsory 30-day pre/post movement test in all cases. 

This is according to the minister who was responding to questions put to him by deputy Charlie McConalogue during Dáil proceedings last month.

The Irish position

McConalogue asked Creed what position Ireland will take regarding the new EU animal health law Delegated Act to impose 30-day pre-movement testing for TB on all herds that are more than six months tested.

The minister was also questioned about whether or not he had consulted with farm organisations on the matter, and what the likely increased cost will be.

Minister Creed said that over the past 12 months his officials had engaged intensively with counterparts in the EU Commission as well as with experts from other member states.

Ireland was successful in achieving considerable changes to the draft TB regulations to the benefit of Irish farmers in negotiations on all points but one.

He continued: “The current draft text retains the 30-day pre/post movement test requirement unless the herd and animal have been tested in the last six months.

“My officials proposed the introduction of risk-based pre/post movement testing, supported by peer-reviewed scientific research undertaken in Ireland.

“Our analysis shows that this approach would be more effective than across-the-board pre/post movement testing.”

2.2 million movements

The minister went on to say that Ireland has approximately 2.2 million movements – counting farm-to-farm and farm-to-mart-to-farm each as one movement – for these purposes per year.

The new rule, he added, “would mean that these would have to either take place within six months of the herd test, or the herd-owner – buyer or seller –  would have to have a pre/post movement test carried out”.

However, there has been very limited support from other member states for this position.

Minister Creed concluded: “My officials have engaged with farm organisations in respect of the new EU animal health law and are happy to consult further on this issue.”