Minister requested to intervene in EU animal drugs row

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Agriculture, Food and Navy Secretary of State Charlie McConalogue has been asked to intervene on a series that has escalated over the new EU veterinary regulations due to come into effect in January 2022.

Farmers fear that implementing the new rules will increase costs and lose important services.

A war of words over changes to veterinary rules escalated in March when the Veterinary Representation declared that distance prescribing antimicrobials led to ill-considered and excessive use, often a blanket approach, and seldom followed up on use and the success of the treatment.

ICMSA President Pat McCormack then called on Minister McConalogue to step in and “radically revise” the implementation of the new veterinary regulations.

President of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack. Pictured: Don Moloney.

Mr McCormack said farmers’ concerns about the cost, efficiency and burdens of the new rules were growing by the day and were “very well founded”.

“We have to say that this looks very much like yet another case of bureaucrats who have no hands-on experience in caring for animal health and who tell both the farmers who own the animals and the veterinarians who treat them what they say do wrong. “he continued.

“I want to be fair to the officials who made these regulations, and I’ll say they obviously mean well.

“However, the net effect of these new rules will make it more difficult for farmers to access and evaluate veterinary medicines in a timely and cost-effective manner.

“Surely we should be working towards this goal?

“The new regulations will not improve the situation. They’re not even neutral and will make it even worse.

“The minister must intervene immediately and ensure that common sense prevails.”

During a recent Joint Agriculture and Marine Committee discussion on the regulation of veterinary medicines, Veterinary Ireland spokesman Tadhg Gavin said one of the main reasons for changing antiparasitic regulations was the development of resistance using traditionally used medicines grazing animals no longer worked against parasites.

This natural occurrence, he added, is due to drug overuse and misuse, and drug resistance causes some establishments to have limited drug capabilities – which increases costs – as they are often limited to the newer drugs.

“The level of production that they can achieve is reduced, and the efficiency of feed conversion is reduced, and the animals do not thrive,” continued Gavin.

“Animals that cannot thrive are a major cost factor for farms. We counter this problem by using the right dose at the right time and when needed. “