The proposal from the Technical Working Group responsible for the oversight of the BVD eradication programme that those farmers who entered the voluntary scheme in 2012 and are now in their final year of tissue testing should carry out an additional year of testing at their own cost is totally unacceptable and totally contrary to the commitment given to these farmers, according to Mr. Pat McCormack, Deputy President of ICMSA.
Mr McCormack said the proposal is outlandish given that these farmers voluntary agreed to enter the scheme in 2012 and were given a clear commitment that the programme was to be a three year programme and no longer. He pointed out that the farmers have met the conditions in full, invested in the scheme on that basis, and are now being told you will have to do another year. Hovering over all this is the TB experience, which provides a very serious example of where things can go wrong. The ICMSA Deputy President said that Animal Health Ireland had given a commitment for a three-year programme and they must stand by it in the interests of their credibility amongst farmers. If extra testing is required at this stage, ICMSA believes that it should be paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
Mr McCormack was also highly critical of the announcement that the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories are to move to a 23% VAT rate as and from March 31 as well as introducing a waste disposal fee in addition to the existing post mortem fee. Mr McCormack said that anything that dissuaded farmers from using the RVLs was, of necessity, negative and he pointed out that when all the new charges and increases were totalled it was now apparent that the overall charge to farmers availing of the RVLs had effectively trebled over a relatively short period. He described this trend as lamentable and very short-sighted against the background where ensuring the health of the national herd was – or, at least, should be – a national priority.
Ends 25 March 2014.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Deputy President, ICMSA
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office