asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is satisfied with the progress to date on bovine tuberculosis eradication; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bovine TB Eradication.
Although, as indicated in a reply given on 16th November, 1972, to questions of a similar nature from Deputy Bruton, disease incidence has decreased over the past three years, I am not satisfied with the pace of its reduction. It was in this regard that a special committee was recently formed to examine the present methods of bovine tuberculosis eradication and how these might be improved.
The report and recommendations of this committee are expected to be available early in the New Year and will be given the most careful consideration.
Was it not expected to have the report in mid-December?
We expect to have it in January.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he intends to raise the ceiling price paid for reactors for the coming year.
The ceiling price payable for reactors is kept under continuous review in my Department.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that the present ceiling price for reactors is not realistic?
The Parliamentary Secretary will have great difficulty in getting the co-operation of the farmers in the eradication of tuberculosis.
The Deputy must realise that the price of reactors has been increased considerably in recent years. When the Department see that there is a need for a further increase, steps will be taken to implement such increase. Also, this special committee which were set up to look into the question of a reduction of the incidence of TB are presumably having a look at the question of price with a view to having it reviewed. As I indicated to Deputy Bruton, we are expecting this report in January and then the question of price will be considered.
May I remind the Parliamentary Secretary that among the small farming community in particular an outbreak of this disease in cattle can be a great burden because the farmers are forced to sell their affected animals at a period which is not sufficient to replace the animals? The fact is that people cannot afford to co-operate in the scheme.
I would point out that the price paid is not based on the replacement cost but on the market value of the animal.
If the Department have competent valuers——
I am calling Question No. 34. We cannot argue the one question all day.
——is there any need for a maximum price? Will they not be able to fix a correct price?
Only in very few cases is the maximum price reached. Therefore, it does not affect very many people but when it becomes evident to the Department, and especially to the special committee to which I have referred, which includes veterinary surgeons of the Department and which will be making recommendations regarding the bringing about of a reduction in the incidence of the disease, they will presumably make recommendations with regard to prices.
Why have a maximum?