Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Draft Animal Remedies Regulations 2005: Motion.
Willie Penrose (Westmeath, Labour)
The Minister should mind what a fool says. Fair access to animal remedies is important, as is the reduction of bureaucratic interference and financial burdens.
My brother raises suckler cows and no one takes greater care of animals. He is out until 1 a.m. and up at 6 a.m. One would not look after a family as well. Yet, the bureaucrats and technocrats in Europe think the like of him are not fit to look after animals. It is time to cry "stop".
Some might say I am eurosceptic — I am when I hear of some of the suggestions from the great brain boxes of Europe who try to put impediments in the way of growth. There is jealousy involved. We are a country rich in natural product — grass, animals and otherwise — and they want to put impediments in our way. If a prescription is issued for a specific branded product rather than an active ingredient, farmers might not have the opportunity to purchase from an outlet. They need to have outlets of their choice.
The Minister should not sign off on any regulations before coming back to fools like ourselves. We might know better than the technocrats. I have had enough of this racket. In 2001 I received an assurance in the House and when I receive such an assurance, I take it as the equivalent of an affidavit from the Minister. I am very annoyed. I told farmers the position as I understood it but the commitments were not lived up to. I might be fooled once but not twice.
What is the position if a vet is not available to issue a prescription for a medicine? I saw a report on television on the situation in Bangor Erris. What happens when a cow has mastitis, grass tetany or other diseases? Is the farmer supposed to wait until the cow puts her four legs up in the air? Let us get real. What is the advice on these diseases? These are practical issues. Some might think that, as a member of the Labour Party, I know nothing about farming; I know a lot more than many. That is why the people of Westmeath have faithfully returned me and will again.