Knackeries call emergency meeting following stalled department talks

An emergency meeting has been called for all members of the Animal Collectors Association (ACA) following stalled talks with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The meeting is scheduled to take place this Sunday, February 16, according to the association.

Noting that it has been in ongoing negotiations with the department since July 2019, the ACA warns that it is now very clear that the department does “not seem to realise the importance of the knackery service provided across rural Ireland”.

The cost of Government services seems to rise every year – yet they expect the cost of small businesses like fallen animal collection to remain static for a decade or so.

“Civil servant mileage subsistence rates are vastly higher than the rate a knackery operator charges to travel for the collection of an animal,” the ACA noted.

The organisation warned that, countrywide, knackeries are no longer financially viable, adding that day-to-day running expenses are rising annually, similar to most other Irish businesses.

“The ACA has been in negotiations with the department in protection of the farmer as knackeries did not want to put these additional charges or, alternatively, a lack of service onto the farmer,” the association explained.

Unfortunately, they are going to be left with no option due to the poor follow-through on commitments from the department.

In its grim statement on the matter, the collector’s association said that – with only 38 approved knackeries in Ireland in total – some operators have to travel long distances.

It stressed that the department “needs to realise” that all knackeries need to be financially viable to stay in business as an integral part of the food chain.

As collectors of fallen animals knackeries also play a very important part in aiding minimise the risk of disease to animals and in turn the risk to human health. In fact, they prevent a vast amount of environmental issues which would arise only for the service knackeries provide.

Knackeries, it said, frequently get calls from the department, Coillte, county councils and others to collect remains of carcasses which have been dumped around the country.

“Knackeries go out of their way to collect these remains often sourcing from places where nobody else would go. They do this to protect waterways, the environment and our picturesque countryside.

“They often have to attend the scene of road accidents and farm accidents to help avoid any further hardship being caused. These calls are often out-of-hours calls.

It can be seen that knackeries provide a vital service to the farming community in rural Ireland and also indirectly to the travel and tourism sector and also the environment etc.

An emergency meeting has been called for all members of the ACA “to discuss the very slow pace at which issues are being addressed”, the statement said.

The ACA will decide on its future on Sunday, the organisation concluded.