TB programme costs €55m ‘but doesn’t work’




Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture recently, IFA President Joe Healy warned that farmers will not continue to support the TB programme unless the Department of Agriculture makes a genuine effort to address a number of issues.

  “Farmers contribute €55m each year to the TB programme, through €27.746m in annual TB testing costs; €7.408m in disease levies; and €20m in labour. This covers over 9m animal tests a year and the implementation of the disinfection protocols following a disease outbreak. In return, farmers receive only €18.087m in compensation for animal and production loss and maintenance costs,” he said.

  “As a major exporter of agriculture produce, IFA is acutely aware of the importance of maintaining the hard-won high health status of our national livestock herd. Farmers continue to support the efforts of the Department of Agriculture in eradicating TB from the national herd at an enormous direct and indirect cost,” he added.

  IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the TB Forum has “failed farmers by refusing to recognise and deal with the impact of the TB programme on farmers and their families”.

  He said: “This refusal by the Minister and his Department is jeopardising the ongoing support of farmers for the TB programme, hindering progress on important enhancements to the programme and ultimately delaying eradication of the disease.

  “Clearly, protecting the 97% of herds that are free from TB annually must be the priority. However, attempting to achieve this by ignoring and further compounding the impact on the 3% of farmers who through no fault of their own experience TB breakdowns is a flawed and unacceptable policy position”.