I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 224 together.
The Fallen Animal TSE Subsidy Scheme is an integral part of the infrastructure underpinning Ireland’s successful livestock and meat processing industries. The rules and regulations of this Scheme are solely the responsibility of my Department and, as a result, I have had no contact with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport on the issue raised by the Deputy.
The Scheme ensures primarily that fallen bovine animals over 48 months, which must be BSE-tested in accordance with EU legislation, are disposed of in compliance with all animal and public health and environmental regulations.
A review of the Fallen Animal TSE Subsidy Scheme was undertaken in 2013, in consultation with stakeholders. This review took into account TSE testing requirements, Animal By-Product (ABP) regulations, budgetary considerations, the need to maintain competition and the need for an adequate collection and disposal infrastructure including the availability of adequate rendering capacity especially in the event of a serious (Class A) disease outbreak.
A number of changes were introduced to the collection of fallen animals under the scheme in 2013. Those included enhanced compliance provisions and putting limits on the distance material can be transported while maintaining a competitive aspect to the market.
Under the terms of the scheme the haulage distance for material to which the scheme applies from the intermediate plant (knackery) to rendering plant shall not exceed 125kms radius unless with the prior approval of my Department. The scheme also provides that, where there are not two or more rendering premises inside 125kms radius from the intermediate plant, then delivery is permitted to either of the two nearest rendering premises as measured by road.
An operator is free to dispose of animals not eligible under the Fallen Animal TSE Subsidy Scheme to a licensed plant of his choice and the arrangements made are a commercial matter between them.