Cutting the VAT rate on injectable and pour-on vaccines to 0% will will bring down the price of these vaccines, director of XL Vets Ireland Conor Geraghty has said.

However, the cut in the VAT rate will not happen before 2025. It is understood the Department of Agriculture is in discussions with the departments of health and finance on reaching the 0% rate.

“The idea of reducing the VAT rate is to make it more attractive for farmers to use vaccines. The use of vaccines reduces the use of antibiotics and the build-up of resistance.”

However, he said vaccination rates on all livestock farms are still only 20% of what they should be.

Geraghty suggested that with the VAT exemption, “we could encourage another 20% to use vaccines rather than waiting for disease to occur.”

On the timeframe for the VAT exemption, he said: “We’d obviously prefer to see it in place in 2023.”

The IFA said the move could result in savings of €10m per annum for farmers.

IFA animal health chair TJ Maher said it is important this objective is delivered on.