Dáil Éireann - Volume 517 - 11 April, 2000

Written Answers. - Bovine Diseases.

164. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if slaughtered reactors in a herd are destroyed or if they are sold to meat factories and enter the food chain; and the consideration given by him to the public health implications of any such cattle entering the food chain. [10458/00]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Bovine animals which react positively to either a TB or brucellosis test must, by law, be removed to an approved export premises for slaughter. Animals which react to these tests demonstrate an immune response to an antigen, which indicates that they have been exposed to a given pathogen.

[1417] The EU directive, which legislates for intra-community trade in fresh meat, requires that all such animals are given a detailed veterinary examination and in this regard my Department maintains a permanent veterinary presence at all export slaughter premises. Each test reactor receives a full veterinary post mortem, the results of which determine eligibility for entry into the food chain.

I understand that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has recently reviewed the arrangements in place and is satisfied that there are no public health implications involved.

165. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the sum payable by way of the reactor grant; if this sum is in compensation for the removal of a reactor from a herd and the loss suffered by a farmer; and the basis upon which factories pay salvage to farmers for reactors. [10459/00]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Under the current bovine TB and brucellosis eradication schemes compensation arrangements, a herdowner can receive compensation under a range of measures, namely, reactor grants, income supplement, depopulation grants and hardship grants, provided the herdowner meets the specified requirements for each compensatory measure. I will arrange to forward a copy of these requirements and compensation rates to the Deputy.

In addition to the compensation payable by my Department a herdowner is also paid salvage value by the factory which slaughters the animal, the amount of which is a matter between the factory and the herdowner.

My Department is currently developing proposals for the introduction of an on-farm market valuation system to meet commitments undertaken in the context of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.