New bovine TB rules are in the Delegated Act (DA) on Part II of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on surveillance, eradication programmes and free status of animal diseases. The original proposals from the EU Commission were quite severe and would have had a significant negative impact on Irish farmers. The original draft proposals included:
- 12 month minimum TB restriction period
- Prohibition on any inward/outward movement in restricted herds
- Derestriction only to occur following two clear tests 6 months apart
- Compulsory 30-day pre/post movement test in all cases
Over the past year, my officials have engaged intensively with Commission counterparts and experts from other Member States on this issue. Ireland was successful in achieving considerable changes to the draft TB regulations to the benefit of Irish farmers in negotiations on all points but one.
The current draft text retains the 30 day pre/post movement test requirement unless the herd and animal have been tested in the last 6 months. My officials proposed the introduction of risk-based pre/post movement testing, supported by peer-reviewed scientific research undertaken in Ireland. Our analysis shows that this approach would be more effective than across-the-board pre/post movement testing. Ireland has approximately 2.2 million movements (counting farm-to-farm and farm-to-mart-to-farm each as one movement for these purposes) per year. The new rule would mean that these would have to either take place within six months of the herd test, or the herdowner (buyer or seller) would have to have a pre/post movement test carried out.
However, there has been very limited support from other Member States for this position.
My officials have engaged with farm organisations in respect of the new EU Animal Health Law and are happy to consult further on this issue.