The ISCA has urged farmers not agree to additional TB testing when purchased animals are being moved into a restricted herd until they receive a funding commitment from the Department of Agriculture.

Farmers should only have to finance one herd TB test per year, the organisation has argued, with the cost of additional testing borne by the Department.

“ICSA believes that no farmer should sign up to a pre- or post-movement test until the Department agrees to pay for it,” stated the organisation’s animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell.

“ICSA stands by the principle that a farmer should only be required to pay for one annual test per annum.

The ICSA has welcomed for last year’s rule change, which allows finishers to buy cattle and move them onto restricted holdings. Such moves had previously only been p[permitted for those with feedlot status.

“This issue of preventing people buying in cattle has long been a contentious issue. ICSA has fought hard to support farmers who need to buy in finishing cattle, and who do not have feedlot status,” he went on.

Bureaucratic barriers

The ICSA has claimed that additional paperwork requirements are discouraging farmers with restricted herds from buying stock in.

No one should be entitled to deprive anyone from earning a living

“We are also concerned about all sorts of additional bureaucratic requirements that are making life difficult for farmers who want to buy in stock for finishing.

“We have made some progress to get this accepted in principle, but the problem is that we see the Department coming up with bureaucratic barriers to prevent it happening in practice. No one should be entitled to deprive anyone from earning a living,” he added.

TB forum frustration

Farrell went on to describe his frustration with the TB decision-making process and the bodies involved in overseeing the implementation of TB rules on farms.

According to the health and welfare chair, the TB finance committee has not called a meeting in months.

“I fought very hard to get this issue resolved at this week’s TB implementation committee. We haven’t had a TB finance committee meeting in months due to operational issues.

“ICSA understands that this is now resolved, and we will fight very hard that new measures cannot be agreed until outstanding financial issues are resolved in tandem,” he finished.