TB risk letters present information in ‘user-friendly, practical form’ – McConalogue

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has defended the TB Herd History Risk Statements and Reports, saying that they present TB risk information in a “user-friendly, detailed and practical form”.

Minister McConalogue made the comments in answer to a parliamentary question from independent Laois-Offaly TD Carol Nolan.

The minister said that the July 2019 interim report from the TB Forum had recommended the development of herd risk categories that are “simple, clear and convey sufficient information to enable farmers to make the decisions appropriate to their situation”.

Farmers are already provided with information in relation to their TB risk, but this new report presents this in a very much more user-friendly, detailed and practical form.

“The department is providing farmers with their own information in a format that helps them to mitigate risk in their herds. An alternative approach would be to deny farmers access to their own information,” Minister McConalogue argued.

He added: “It is imperative that stakeholders work together in reducing TB rates to support and protect family farms.”

Responding to the minister’s answer to her question, deputy Nolan said: “What else are farmers meant to think when the minister describes the proposals as ‘user-friendly, detailed and practical’? This is to completely miss the point around the central concern of farmers around herd categorisation.

It is also somewhat galling for farmers to hear the minister say that it is imperative that stakeholders work together in reducing TB rates to support and protect farm families. What else does he think farmers are concerned about?

“Farmers do not need to be told about collaboration and working together to reduce TB risk,” Nolan argued.

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