A Tipperary farm leader has appealed for calm over the handling of a susepcted BSE case in County Louth. The chair of ICMSA in Tipperary Seamus Troy from Thurles, made his plea after describing the situation as a “serious issue” for Tipperary.
“Tipp farmers, like farmers all over the country, have put a huge effort into eradicating BSE and generally working to position our beef as an internationally acknowledged premium product,” said Mr Troy.
He said that the proof that they had succeeded was that markets previously closed to Ireland, including America and China that still were closed to other EU beef producers, were recently opened to Irish beef.
“This is a serious issue for Tipperary and for the large amounts of beef that originate in the county. That’s why we’re appealing to those people commenting on what happened last week in Louth to always bear in mind that these kinds of incidents can easily be ‘talked up’ past any proper perspective. We need to safeguard the undoubted excellence and safety of Irish beef and not waste two decades of work and investment,” he said.
Mr Troy said that it was important not to over-react to what was a serious matter, but he stressed that Ireland had confronted BSE quite recently and had dealt with it so effectively that just in the last fortnight the veterinary equivalent of the WHO had categorised the state as BSE-free.
He had no doubts but that this suspected outbreak would be dealt with in similarly efficient manner.
“While ICMSA would never downplay the importance of these kinds of issues, we would still put complete confidence in our response and containment systems, and we would doubt whether this incident could threaten the kind of market penetration and international recognition that Irish beef has been achieving over the last number of years”, he said.
“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that this incident be put in the one-off category that all the evidence so far would seem to indicate,” he said.
The group’s president, John Comer, also said that it was important not to over-react to what was undoubtedly a serious matter but stressed that Ireland had confronted BSE quite recently and had dealt with it effectively.
He had no doubts but that this outbreak would be dealt with in similarly efficient manner
The IFA president Eddie Downey said,:“This isolated case shows the effectiveness of the monitoring and control systems in place in Ireland”.
He said the traceability and monitoring controls adopted by farmers and the sector are the most stringent and robust anywhere and ensure the health status and quality of our agri-produce. A random case is not unusual in the context of the robust control systems we have in place for all diseases.
This animal was identified as part of the on-going monitoring for BSE of animals collected from farms by knackeries for rendering.
“The case involved a five-year old cow sent to a knackery for disposal from a Louth dairy farm and the Department of Agriculture is awaiting tests to confirm the situation, which will take up to a week,” Downey concluded.