The Animal Collectors Association (ACA), the body that represents knackeries in Ireland, has told the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that its members will cut back on the services they provide due to disputes on a number of issues.

From today (Monday, January 9), knackeries that are members of the ACA will not test sheep for the degenerative disease scrapie.

The ACA’s dispute with the department is understood to be partially based on the Fallen Animal Scheme.

The association’s email to the department said: “As advised on previous occasions, the ACA is left with no alternative only to commence the reduction of services provided.

“From today, sheep will not be presented for scrapie testing in knackeries across the country,” the email added.

The ACA asked the department to advise local department offices that knackeries were putting a halt to this service.

“The members of the ACA are angered at the lack of appreciation by [the department] for the services they provide and lack of consideration shown to the limited finances in the industry, with rising costs since early 2022.”

“A further reduction of services is to follow due to lack of funds available to the members of the ACA,” the email added.

A spokesperson for the ACA told Agriland that, while an updated Fallen Animal Scheme is set to come into place on February 25, the association has not yet seen a copy of proposed changes.

The spokesperson also said that it is approaching a busy time of year for knackeries, and that issues around the Fallen Animal Scheme needed to be resolved now.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the nervous system of sheep and goats.

Scrapie is a notifiable disease, which means farmers are legally obliged to notify the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine if they suspect a sheep or goat may be infected with scrapie.