ICSA pushes to prevent compulsory prescriptions for some vet medicines

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has again called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to reconsider plans to introduce compulsory prescriptions for routine dosing products for livestock.

ICSA Animal Health and Welfare Committee chair Hugh Farrell said: “These proposals are akin to taking a sledgehammer to the way farmers take care of the everyday needs of their livestock.

“They are completely over the top and the intervention of Minister McConalogue is now required to sort this out,” he said.

Farrell said that the authorities are citing anthelmintic resistance as a reason for a much more “draconian regime”.

This is showing a complete lack of respect for the competence of farmers who are at the front line in delivering excellent care for their stock.

“Farmers are well aware of the problem of anthelmintic resistance. That is why many suckler farmers have chosen to carry out dung sampling under the BEEP-S [Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Sucklers] scheme,” he added.

Need for medicines

The ICSA chair added: “Farmers will use scientific measurement to minimise the use of anthelmintics. But it would be misleading to think that there is widespread scope to eliminate or even substantially reduce the need for wormers and flukicides for example.

The wet climate is ideal for fluke and many farmers already know the extent of the fluke threat from meat factory examinations of livers.

“Making these doses prescription-only is not going to change the fluke challenge on wet farms. There are better solutions than prescription-only status which leads to licensed merchants being prevented from offering competition,” he added.

The association has said that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has been “too quick to rush into pushing for prescription-only status for anti-parasitic doses”.

ICSA said that there is no agreement among stakeholders that this should be the outcome.

It added that EU regulation 2019/6 still provides for an exemption from prescription control, and that this option must be revisited urgently.