Criticism for Department’s latest cattle tag decision

The Department of Agriculture has been criticised for ignoring the legal BVD testing obligations in the latest tag approval document.

This criticism comes from the IFA Health Chairman Bert Stewart who said the cornerstone of the BVD Programme to date has been the efficient sampling and testing approach provided to all farmers through the use of the national ID tag.

This has now been fundamentally dismantled by the Department and poses huge challenges in achieving a successful outcome in the BVD Eradication Programme, he said

The IFA Health Chairman added the Department cannot wash their hands of their responsibilities in this area and must come forward with strong financial support for farmers.

Farmers may now be exposed to further complexities and cost increases if BVD is to be eradicated, with a total of €45m already spent to date in the programme, he said.

He said it is astounding that in the same week the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, launched the consultation process for a National Farm Animal Health Strategy, his department have taken this step.

The tags supplied must provide the basis for all farmers to meet their legal testing obligations in the BVD programme cost effectively, he added.

In relation to the supply of identification tags, he said the Department must ensure that all suppliers that are approved to supply tags to farmers are in a position to deliver a timely and efficient service.

As well as providing farmers with tags that are suitable for Irish livestock production systems with minimal loss rates, he also said.

The IFA Chairman said it is vital farmers do not experience any delays in the supply of tags under the new approval approach.

The tagging and traceability systems in place in Ireland are the cornerstone of our production standards, while the integrity and robustness of this process must be protected at all times by the Department when approving suppliers,” he said.