Issues with staff shortages and collection of sheep have been identified at a number of knackeries in the southeast of the country, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
And it is engaged with other agencies to resolve these issues, it said.
In response to a query from Agriland, the DAFM confirmed that it is aware of “some issues regarding the collection of sheep in the southeast area”.
A shortage of staff in knackeries has also been highlighted to the DAFM, which is engaged with the Animal Collectors Association (ACA) and with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to “try to help resolve these issues”, the DAFM said.
The DAFM confirmed that capacity in these knackeries is not a problem.
In a statement to Agriland, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said:
“My department engages with the ACA on an ongoing basis to ensure the collection of fallen animals is carried out in compliance with this legislation.
“My department is aware of some issues regarding the collection of sheep in the southeast area and is in engagement with the ACA to resolve these issues.
“My department is also aware of some issues regarding the shortage of staff in knackeries and is engaged with the ACA and with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to try to help resolve these issues, however these issues are not related to capacity.”
Failure of DAFM
However, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has criticised what it described as the failure of the DAFM to address “key issues” in dealing with knackeries for the collection of fallen animals.
IFA Animal Health Committee chairman, TJ Maher, said they have received reports of knackeries charging above the maximum collection fees for fallen animals.
“In some areas, knackeries have refused to collect fallen sheep. This is not the first time some of these issues have been raised with the department,” he said.
The farm organisation said that the scheme, in its current format, protects the interests of rendering plants and licensed knackeries at the expense of farmers.
It has called on the DAFM to review the scheme which the IFA said is “failing to deliver for farmers”.
“The two key issues that must be addressed are guaranteed collection of all animals and competitive collection fee,” Maher said.
Number of bovines collected
The Fallen Animal Scheme, run by the DAFM, facilitates the collection and disposal of fallen animals in accordance with EU animal by-products legislation.
The number of licensed animal collectors participating in the Fallen Animal Scheme is 37.
Provisional figures for 2022, supplied by the DAFM to Agriland, show that, so far this year, there has been an decrease of more than 18,000 bovines collected under the scheme, when compared to the same timeframe in 2021.
From January 1 to May 13, 2022, that (provisional) figure stood at 131,114, while during the same period in 2021, the figure was 149,922.
The number of bovines collected under the scheme during that timeframe in 2022, aged greater than 48 months of age, is 31,410, while the number fewer than 48 months’ is 99,704.
In the same period in 2021, the number of bovines collected under the scheme, aged greater than 48 months of age, is 35,210, while the number fewer than 48 months’ is 114,712.
Fallen animal – bovine Jan 1 – May 13, 2022
Jan 1 – May 13, 2021 >48 months’ 31,410 35,210 <48 months’ 99,704 114,712 Total 131,114 149,922