asked the Minister for Agriculture the percentage of reactors which are retained in the herds of the pre-intensive brucellosis eradication scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Disease Eradication .
: It is estimated that at the end of April 1978, between 18 per cent and 24 per cent of reactors disclosed under the pre-intensive brucellosis scheme were retained in their herds by participants in the scheme.
asked the Minister for Agriculture if he has received reports of the spread of disease arising from the operations of certain middlemen buying reactors and selling them to factories; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
: A number of cases have been reported to me of reactor cattle being bought by dealers. Where these cattle are collected from the infected farms and delivered direct to factories the practice is not open to objection. It is only where delivery to the factory is delayed or where the animals are treated that the question of spreading disease arises. It is a condition of the payment by my Department of headage grants for reactors that these animals must be sent direct from the herdowner's premises to a registered meat factory. It is, therefore, in the herdowner's own interest to ensure that this condition is fulfilled.
: What arrangements has the Minister to ensure that they are all sent directly to the factory? Is any special watch kept on the activities of these middlemen?
: The vigilance of the officers in the disease eradication section of my Department has been increased greatly in recent times because I am aware, as I am sure the Deputy is, of the possibility of a breach of the rules of the eradication programme in the handling of reactor cattle. For that reason the Department keep an eye on those proceedings. If the Deputy, or any Member, has any information that would lead to the detection of those involved in this malpractice we would be glad to receive it.
: I am sure the Minister is aware that I have been in touch with the Department in regard to a particular allegation in a certain part of the country.
: I thank the Deputy for that.