Higher age for BSE cattle tests will mean savings of EUR 8m, says Smith

 

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He confirmed the minimum age for BSE testing of both animals slaughtered for human consumption as well as emergency slaughtered and fallen animals was increased to 48 months on January 1.

Mr Smith said farmers currently have to pay for the testing of animals over 30 months, but the number of cattle to be tested is now estimated to fall by about 400,000 a year.

This will result in annual savings of more than EUR 8 million, he said stressing that the decision vindicated the pressing of the EU commissioner to increase the minimum age for testing.

Minister Smith said he had taken up this issue immediately on his appointment because he believed the testing of all cattle over 30 months was no longer justified.

Minister Smith thanked all concerned for their co-operation in implementing the various controls that had been in place and that have now led to the less demanding testing regime.

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association beef and cattle committee chairperson Martin McMahon said the new 48-month rule represents full recognition by the European Commission of the excellent system of cattle identification and traceability in Ireland.

"The new rule removes an unnecessary cost and irrelevant age cut-off point and provides farmers with more flexibility regarding the marketing of their cattle," he said.

 

January 14, 2009

 

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