Letter to the editor: 4-movement rule should be consigned to history

Given the traditional movement of beef stock in this country, due to the variants of land type and enterprises they’re on, within beef production, this rule [four-movement rule] inhibits the volume of stock that can be freely traded through our marts.

Marts are becoming the preferred method by beef farmers to trade their factory-fit stock.

In recent times, designated fat stock sales have become more and more the choice by beef farmers to trade their stock, due to the transparent manner of a public auction.

The mart offers the farmer a clear market value of their stock, where they can exercise their decision to trade or not.

4-movement rule

The four-movement rule has no scientific basis, nor does it add any value to the carcass of the animal, or any products derived from the carcass.

The consumer is not informed that the beef products that they are purchasing are from a beef animal with a maximum of three movements under the four-movement rule.

I request all farming organisations to act in unison in calling for the immediate removal of this arbitrary rule.

From Martin Mc Garry, farmer, Co. Sligo.


Bord Bia states that the residency requirement for cattle to be deemed ‘Quality Assured’ is that the animal must have spent the last 70 days (unbroken) in the ‘Quality Assured Chain’.

However, the animal can be moved from one farm to another, provided each farm is ‘Quality Assured’, and remains in the ‘Quality Assurance Chain’.

The food agency adds that meat factories set a residency requirement of 60 days on the final farm, and a maximum of four farm movements, for carcasses to qualify for a bonus payment.