TB risk statements ‘causing panic among farmers’ and ‘should be ignored’

The issuing of TB Herd History Risk Statements to herd-owners around the country is “causing confusion and panic among farmers”, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chair Hugh Farrell has advised farmers that the TB herd history letters should be ignored.

“Many farmers are in a state of panic and confusion – particularly in relation to advice to cull cattle, even though those animals have never tested positive for TB,” Farrell said.

This is causing a lot of confusion and worry, and it is particularly regrettable that this was done in the absence of a functioning minister.

“It is also very unacceptable because this has been done in complete contravention of the spirit of the TB Forum which has been unilaterally sidelined by the department,” the chairman added.

“Farmers need to be aware that there is no requirement on them whatsoever to cull any animals listed on this letter and they are free to completely ignore any implications.

“The ICSA will be demanding that the new minister rolls back on this and does not attempt to impose further restrictions. Moreover, the minister must immediately insist that the TB forum is reconvened,” Farrell contended.

“As a farming organisation, the ICSA is outraged that farmers are being put in such an impossible position.

There can be no doubt that all of this information floating around has the potential to seriously distort the markets. Herd-owners are reeling that their stock has potentially been devalued – and all of this has been done in the absence of any revised compensation measures to mitigate the impact.

Continuing, the chairman said that Minister McConalogue will have to “take his department officials to task on this fiasco”.

Reminding farmers that the TB Forum was established for a reason, to progress the TB Eradication Programme in consultation and agreement with the stakeholders, Farrell concluded, noting:

“This has not happened and as a result farmers have been left unfairly and negatively impacted.”