Labs Accused Over Testing Rates

IFA Animal Health chairman John Waters has strongly criticised the laboratories designated to provide diagnostic testing for the national BVD Eradication Programme, for their failure to offer testing to farmers at reasonable rates.

IFA Animal Health chairman John Waters has strongly criticised the laboratories designated to provide diagnostic testing for the national BVD Eradication Programme, for their failure to offer testing to farmers at reasonable rates.

Mr Waters said: “Prior to the commencement of the BVD Programme, labs were offering tests at a significantly lower rate of €4-€4.50, which included the cost of the sample tag. It is opportunistic of labs to charge similar rates for testing alone. While some labs are willing to do deals at rates lower than those quoted, these reduced rates still do not reflect fully the economies of scale the labs can achieve in the Programme.

“As the farmer has already supplied the sample tag, and given the economies of scale, there is no justification for not reducing significantly the cost of diagnostic testing.”

The Animal Health chairman said: “The blatant profiteering by the labs is not acceptable and could have a very negative impact on the level of uptake of the BVD Programme. The move to the compulsory phase could also be jeopardised. If the designated diagnostic labs do not reduce significantly their rates, IFA will be demanding that AHI designate labs that can offer testing at realistic and fair rates for all famers. Farmers will not allow the greed or opportunism of any service providers to drive up the cost of the BVD Programme.”