Pre-movement TB test proposals ‘hopelessly over the top’

Any benefits that might flow from the European Commission’s proposed TB testing regulation would be “disproportionately slight” against the cost, effort and administration involved, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Currently being considered by the European Parliament, if passed, the draft regulation would mean many farmers seeking to sell cattle will soon be required to either sell within six months of their last herd test, or conduct a test within 30 days of an animal being sold.

Commenting on the matter, ICMSA deputy president and spokesperson on animal health, Lorcan McCabe, said that the ICMSA is positive and supportive of real efforts and commitment towards animal disease eradication.

“We’re behind any concerted effort at eradicating TB and certainly where there are persistently infected herds there may be a justification for some form of pre-movement TB test with the timelines to be worked out.

But we think that this proposal is hopelessly over the top in terms of effort and expense relative to any good it’s going to achieve.

“As usual with these proposals, the brunt of the hassle and cost will fall on the farmers – and that on its own should lead to the rejection of the proposal.

“The really interesting contrast is the way this has been presented to farmers as a sensible idea while actively managing the deer population – a much more practical and less costly way of lowering the incidence of TB infection – is somehow always relegated to the bottom of the list of options,” the deputy president concluded.