VAT that is currently applied to non-oral vaccines looks set to be reduced from January 2025, according to a superintending veterinary inspector at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
A zero VAT rate is applied to oral vaccines in Ireland, but the standard 23% still applies to products such as pour-ons and drenches.
Caroline Garvan, was contributing to a recent MSD Animal Health event, the One Health and Sustainability Conference, which centred around reducing the carbon footprint of farming and sustainable livestock production.
Ms. Garvan was one of a four-person panel, alongside vet and former president of Veterinary Ireland, Conor Geraghty; University College Dublin professor, Dr. Patrick Wall; and associate director poultry business unit, MSD Animal Health, Conor Sheehy. The panel discussed the impact of EU legislation on medicines, and on antibiotics usage.
Addressing a question put to her about supports that the DAFM can provide farmers and vets to help reduce reliance on antibiotics in the context of vaccines and the VAT that exists on them, the veterinary inspector said:
“We have been looking at VAT on vaccines for a long time and I suppose the delay has been due to the fact that we needed agreement from our colleagues in the Department of Health because human and animal vaccines would be taken as a package.
“So, we have put together a proposal for the Department of Finance and they have come back an said, yes that they can reduce the VAT on vaccines.”
This VAT reduction will not be applicable until 2025, she confirmed.
“There is a time delay but the positive is that it is possible,” she said.
Expanding on the DAFM’s role in supporting farmers in the transition away from antibiotics reliance, she highlighted the various Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) initiatives that exist across poultry, pig, and cattle sectors.
The TASAH is a real opportunity for vets and farmers going forward, she said.
“It is a real opportunity to get those boots on the ground, to get that farmer-vet engagement and conversation going, and increasing the awareness.
“A lot of it is about how you communicate and figuring out what is going to be compatible with your farmer client and so, we are funding these kinds of engagements [TASAH] to promote the health consultant role [of the vet] as opposed to the supplier of medicines,” she said.
That is, after all, one of the aims of the new legislation that will govern the use of antibiotics, and eventually, anti-parasitics.
In relation to the latter, for example, in March 2022, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue launched a parasite-control strategy for cattle and sheep farmers within the existing TASAH.
Brought in under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022, it aims to support farmers in their response to the anti-parasitic challenge.