WEST Cork ICMSA chairman Tom Wilson said that this is a hugely significant and positive time for the Irish beef sector following the decision taken by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to raise Ireland’s status in relation to BSE from ‘controlled risk’ to ‘negligible risk.’
Mr Wilson noted that to be designated a ‘negligible risk’ – the highest possible status – a country must have had no indigenous BSE case in an animal born in the last 11 years. He said the upgrade is a ringing endorsement of the work and sacrifices made by farmers, the industry, and the regulators, over the last nearly 20 years and it was now important that beef farmers see a benefit from this decision through higher prices for our beef.
The Enniskeane farmer said that great progress had been made over the past number of years in terms of improving market access for Irish beef and the decision should further boost our efforts in the marketing and promotion of Irish grass-fed beef.In addition, the decision today should also lead to significant savings in terms of disposal of Specified Risk Material (SRM) and, on this issue alone, farmers should benefit through higher prices given that the costs of disposal will be significantly reduced and thus add value to Irish beef.
‘The global independent body on animal health has recognised the progress made by the Irish beef sector today and we must now push on, boost market returns and return stronger prices to beef prices based on the recognised status of our beef.’