Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (658, 659)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

672 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the granting of a licence to acquire stock from restricted stock (details supplied) satisfies good practice and that he is assured that it will not have a detrimental impact on surrounding farms, livestock and livelihood; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35076/12]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

673 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will cease the granting of any licences for the purposes of restricted stock purchase until such time as a full evaluation of the process, risk to neighbouring livestock and livelihoods as well as the need for consultation with persons of interest in such endeavours has been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35077/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 672 and 673 together.

In general, cattle may only be moved under a movement permit issued by my Department from a TB restricted herd direct to a slaughter plant. However, a movement permit may be issued, in exceptional cases, for the movement of non-infected cattle to another pre-identified and assessed holding where there are sound animal welfare reasons for such movement e.g. where there are insufficient facilities or feed for the remaining animals, particularly calves, which cannot be disposed of in accordance with the normal trading pattern of the herdowner. In practice, such movements are extremely rare and are only permitted where the Department is satisfied that it will not have a detrimental impact on surrounding farms, livestock and livelihood.

The specific case for which details were supplied by the Deputy was initially allowed in 2011 and has since been used to relieve stress on facilities, feed or resources for other similar cases. The farm to which calves move is restricted. The calves are confined to one fragment of the farm that is bounded by a canal at one side, by roads and by housing on the others and is therefore not contiguous to and does not pose a risk to any livestock. They are required to pass two tests before the herd is declared officially TB free. While the calves are then eligible for sale on the open market, the practice is that they subsequently only move to other fragments of the same holding or to another fattening holding for finishing or slaughter.

My Department is satisfied that a full evaluation of the process has been conducted and that any movement permits issued under these exceptional circumstances have not posed a risk to the neighbouring herds of the person concerned or to the farming community generally.