The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has criticised what it describes as the failure of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to address “key issues” in dealing with knackeries for the collection of fallen animals.
IFA Animal Health Committee chairman, TJ Maher said: “In recent weeks, IFA has received reports of knackeries charging above the maximum collection fees for fallen animals.
“In some areas, knackeries have refused to collect fallen sheep. This is not the first time some of these issues have been raised with the Department of Agriculture.”
The farm organisation claims that the scheme, in its current format, protects the interests of rendering plants and licensed knackeries at the expense of farmers.
Knackeries as anti-competitive
“It’s simply not good enough that Minister [for agriculture, Charlie] McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture have left farmers under the heel of knackeries with a system that is anti-competitive and fails to hold fallen animal collectors accountable,” Maher continued.
Maher said the scheme includes significant levels of subvention payments to knackeries, but doesn’t provide for a guaranteed and competitively-priced fallen animal collection system for farmers.
“The fallen animal disposal system is in desperate need of a full review to identify the most cost-efficient means to have fallen animals removed from farms, and to create a mechanism to guarantee collection of all fallen animals,” he said.
The IFA has reminded farmers that it is important that they are aware that these prices are the maximum fees a knackery can charge for fallen animal collection, and some knackeries offer more competitive rates.
The association said that any knackeries applying higher charges are not in compliance with the subvention scheme they have signed up to.
Category Age Max collection fee Bovines +48 months €54.03 24-48 months €100 12-24 months €80 6-12 months €50 3-6 months €35 0-3 months €30 Sheep €30
Maher said the DAFM is “compelled under EU law to provide an effective and efficient fallen animal collection system for farmers” as this is the only mechanism for animal disposal allowed.
Maher stated: “Despite numerous demands from IFA to resolve the issue, they have failed to do so.
The IFA is calling on the DAFM to have a full review of the disposal arrangements.
According to the farm organisation, the current system is “failing to deliver for farmers and the two key issues that must be addressed are guaranteed collection of all animals and competitive collection fee”.