Thursday, 8 December 2005
Dáil Éireann Debate
86. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if she is satisfied with the conditions that apply to cattle being fed under B and B conditions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38372/05]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): The main concern of my Department in relation to so called bed and breakfast facilities relates to the potentially significant disease risks, particularly TB and brucellosis, associated with the mixing of cattle from different sources in housing sheds. In view of this concern, my Department has set down minimum requirements governing the movement of cattle into such sheds and it also issues reminders of these requirements to farmers at this time of year when cattle are being moved into these types of facilities. In addition, my Department provides bio-security advice to operators of these facilities with a view to minimising disease risks.
With regard to the minimum requirements, the position is that movements to and from a B&B must conform to the same test requirements as sale-mart movements. Keepers of animals moving animals to or from a B&B must obtain a CMMS compliance certificate prior to movement and all movements must be recorded on the herd registers of the sender and the receiver. For disease tracing purposes and to fulfil EU requirements, any calves born on B and B holdings must be tagged and registered by the keeper of the B&B, using ear tags appropriate to the B&B holding. The notification of movement and proper record keeping are paramount in the event of a disease outbreak where prompt tracing of all potentially exposed or infected animals is essential.
With regard to bio-security advice, my Department has emphasised that, where possible, cattle from one farm of origin should be kept separate from cattle from other farms so as to minimise the risk of disease transmission. In addition, my Department’s advice at all times is not to place pregnant female cattle into a B&B situation. Where this is unavoidable, farmers should minimise the risk by seeking out facilities where they will be the sole occupier. Where this is not possible, pregnant animals should be isolated until after they have passed a post-calving blood test for brucellosis. Cleaning and disinfection and general hygiene in the B&B should be of the highest possible standards.
I believe that if the conditions and bio-security advice are fully complied with, both by farmers availing of B&B facilities and B&B operators, the disease risks to cattle moved into B&B sheds will be minimised.
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