Pressure builds on MEPs to reject 30-day TB test proposal

Farmers are mounting pressure on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to ensure a controversial EU proposal to impose a 30-day pre-movement Tuberculosis (TB) test on livestock is rejected.

It is understood that the Delegated Act on Disease Control – which is due to become operational in April 2021 – is still undergoing scrutiny at European Commission level.

Pat Farrell, chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Animal Health Committee has written to Irish MEPs outlining the association’s concerns on the issue.

In a statement to AgriLand Farrell said: “The discussions on this Delegated Act are reaching a conclusion in the EU Commission and it is up to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and our MEPs to ensure this requirement is removed from the Delegated Act on Disease Control.”

In a letter to MEPs, Pat Farrell outlined the issues for farmers with the commission’s proposal to impose a 30-day pre-movement test for TB.

This measure is not scientifically based, will not contribute to eradication of the disease and will add an enormous cost to the TB programme which farmers will not accept.

Farrell is calling on MEPs to “strongly reject” this “costly and unnecessary” measure in the Delegated Acts under the New EU Animal Health Law.

In recent weeks, a spokesperson for Minister Creed said: “Ireland is continuing to engage with the commission and will be making further representations to the relevant commission officials in DG Sante.”

TB Eradication Programme

Meanwhile, the TB eradication programme will be the centre of focus at tomorrow’s Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine meeting.

Prof. Simon More, of the UCD Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (UCD CVERA), and representatives from Veterinary Ireland will appear before the committee to discuss the issue.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, committee chairperson deputy Pat Deering said: “Levels of bovine TB have reduced in recent years, but efforts must continue to eradicate it completely from Irish farms.

“The committee will tomorrow examine issues relating to the department’s TB eradication programme and the work of the Tuberculosis (TB) 2030 Stakeholder Forum.”

Topics set to be discussed include: seeking an update on progress with the wildlife strategy; compensation for TB-affected farms; and how to best protect clean herds from contamination.