The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed that a full fallen animal collection service has resumed across the country.
Discussions took place last week between officials from the department and the representative body for Irish Category One Renderers (ICORA).
As a result of the negotiations all three category 1 rendering plants were open for all deliveries from Friday, December 15.
“Consequently, burial of fallen animals is not being considered as a disposal option at this time and the advice for keepers of animals who have a fallen animal is to contact their local animal collector as per normal,” a DAFM spokesperson told Agriland.
It is understood that rendering plants in the Republic of Ireland stopped accepting material from knackeries for rendering since December 4.
The dispute arose following substantial increases to fees charged by renderers to animal collectors for the disposal of non-TSE tested fallen farm stock.
The situation led to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue stating that fallen animals could be transported to Northern Ireland or farmers could get authorisation to bury the animals on their farm.
The department did not explain the terms of the agreement in order to reopen the rendering plants.
Knackery owner John Hastings told Agriland that while knackeries and rendering plants are back operating “as normal”, there has been “no resolution made whatsoever by the department”.
He said that during the meeting between renderers and DAFM, it was agreed that as a “gesture of good will”, renderers would return to using previous prices in the lead up to Christmas.
Hastings said that this was to “get things cleared up this side of Christmas”. He added that “nobody is out of pocket”.
According to Hastings, the department has not met with knackery owners.
Fallen animal collection
Hugh Farrell, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Animal Health and Welfare chair, welcomed the reopening of the rendering plants for fallen animals.
However, he added that the outcome of the recent discussions is only “a temporary fix”.
“There’s some sort of a deal between the department and renderers to make up the difference temporarily but they haven’t come to an agreed price on it.
“So that needs to be dealt with very fast in the new year because we’re heading then at the end of January into a calving season,” Farrell told Agriland.
The ICSA chair reiterated his call for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) “to conduct a thorough investigation into rendering cost levels”.
“We shouldn’t be pushed into a corner because of a limited number of renderers,” Farrell said.
Meanwhile, TJ Maher, chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Animal Health committee, said that farmers around the country will be “relieved” that the fallen animal collection service has resumed.
He said that farmers had been “extremely frustrated” as they had dead animals on their premises in some cases for up to two weeks.
“We continue to call for a full review of this process. It’s been our view for over a year this whole collection procedure needs a complete overall,” Maher told Agriland.
“We have continuous reports of overcharging of farmers above the legal maximum. The department have not got a proper review process of these charges in place.
“We can’t have a situation ongoing where farmers in certain parts of the country have no choice but to pay above the legal maximums because they have no alternative and are forced by the department to have their animals collected under this system.
“While we welcome the collectors getting back out, we still wait for that response from the department,” he said.
Additional reporting by Louise Hickey