Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Health Levies (Pigs) Regulations 2019: Motion

Photo of Willie PenroseWillie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath, Labour) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister for his presentation. This measure has emanated from agreement between the farm organisations and the Department. It appears approximately €250,000 will be available and it will apply per animal, regardless of its value. It will be strictly curtailed in that regard. What will that money be spent on with respect to the identification of potential diseases that may well give rise to issues? We must be mindful of swine fever and the development of various mutations of it at various levels in terms of bacterial and virus-induced diseases. Pig farmers have had a difficult time during the past two or three years. We talk about other sectors but pig farmers have been on the ground for the past two or three years and it is only in the past four or five months that things have started to pick up for them. That is excellent. There are three or four pig farmers based in Westmeath. I would make the point that they maintain high standards of hygiene and animal welfare. They are excellent in the work they put in and are a source of employment across County Westmeath and extending into Longford. In this context, what work will Dr. Carla Gomes, as a pig health check programme manager, be doing? With respect to the Government input and that of the pig producers and exporters, it is important they get a return from this money and that it is not a contribution on which there is no return. Every penny should be earmarked for positivity in this respect. One of the reasons we are discussing this sector is that China has suffered outbreaks of the African swine fever and that is partially why the prices in our pig industry have risen. What can happen elsewhere, however, can happen here. What protective measures to deal with the investigation of animal diseases, particularly those impacting on pig health, will be put in place?


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