Focus on TB regulations

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East Galway TD Paul Connaughton is to discuss new TB regulations with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney in coming days.
‘The new regulations came into effect on Wednesday, April 1st and in recent days I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned at the potential costs of the TB testing regime and also at new regulations which prohibit standard treatment of animals once test notification has been received.
‘At the moment farmers are liable to pay for no more than one herd test in a calendar year, and farmers are concerned that the new regulations do not contain that provision. Farmers agreed to co-operate with the TB testing regime following an agreement reached with the Department of Agriculture in 1995. The new regulations do not reflect the 1995 agreement, which is a cause of great concern for farmers as potentially they could be exposed to additional test costs during the year.
‘There are also serious concerns about how farmers are to conduct their business if they have to abide by the new regulations on veterinary medicines. For example if an animal gets sick after a test notification has been received, and a farmer has to let that illness go untreated, it could have huge animal welfare implications. The medications potentially covered include normal dosing, vaccination and dry cow treatment for animals.
‘A decision has to be taken on who is responsible for the welfare of the animal in the interim between notification of test and the test. Sometimes that notification can arrive weeks before the test and it is simply not practical to prohibit farmers from carrying out normal animal husbandry treatment for such a long period. Farmers are also concerned that compensation levels for farmers have not been increased since 2007
‘I believe that there are common sense answers to many of these issues and I will be taking these issues up with Minister in coming days and highlighting the concerns of farmers in terms of test costs, veterinary medications and compensation levels.’