IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said IFA recently met with officials in the Department of Agriculture on the Clean Livestock Policy and, contrary to some reports, the Department explained to IFA that they are consulting with stakeholders with a view to renewing efforts to improve the overall situation.
He said IFA will continue to engage and work with the Department, Teagasc, the factories and farmers to renew the focus on the issue and ensure that the proper messages are communicated on the issue. On cattle, Angus Woods said the Department data clearly points to a small number of producers and a small number of cattle with an issue in this area.
Angus Woods said IFA has also been in contact with Teagasc which is working on reviewing their communications and brochures on the Clean Cattle Policy, and is developing similar material for the sheep sector.
IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the Department of Agriculture explained they are consulting all stakeholders at this stage on the sheep side, but there were no changes. He said it is clear from the communications from some meat plants they are jumping the gun with talk of severe penalties and a Department clampdown. He said the Department has made it clear to IFA this is not the case.
John Lynskey said the Department must haul the factories back in on this and insist that it is handled in a sensible way that does not involve any cost or charges on farmers. In addition, he said goodwill and a team effort is important with handling this issue and the aggressive approach is very unhelpful. He said IFA has always promoted good presentation of sheep for slaughter and producer groups, which were established by IFA, are leaders on this area.