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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.