Knackeries are charging farmers more than they should for the collection of fallen cattle and sheep under the Fallen Animal Scheme for TSE testing and Fallen Farm Stock Scheme, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has said.

The terms of these schemes set limits on the maximum amounts that knackeries can charge to collect different classes of fallen cattle and sheep.

Some knackeries have ceased the collection of sheep from farms, the IFA has also claimed, stating that it had previously raised issues surrounding the collection of fallen animals from farms with the Department of Agriculture.

“In recent weeks, [the] IFA has received reports of knackeries charging above the maximum collection fees for fallen animals,” said IFA animal health chair TJ Maher.

“In some areas, knackeries have refused to collect fallen sheep. This is not the first time some of these issues have been raised with the Department of Agriculture,” claimed Maher.

Farmers under heel

The animal health chair has said that the emergence of these issues for farmers represents a failure on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue's behalf to provide an effective system for the collection of fallen animals.

“It’s simply not good enough that Minister McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture have left farmers under the heel of knackeries with a system that is anti-competitive and fails to hold fallen animal collectors accountable,” he remarked.

To help resolve the situation, a full review of the fallen animal collection system should be carried out, added Maher.

“The fallen animal disposal system is in desperate need of a full review to identify the most cost-efficient means to have fallen animals removed from farms and to create a mechanism to guarantee collection of all fallen animals,” he finished.