Mandatory BSE testing to end
Farming groups have welcomed the announcement that BSE testing for heathy animals at slaughter will no longer be required from April 1st next.
It follows a decision by the EU Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health to discontinue the BSE testing of healthy slaughter animals.
Chairman of the Irish Creamery Milk Association's beef and cattle committee Michael Guinan said it was welcome news for Irish farmers and "represents another step from a crisis that is thankfully well behind us".
Mr Guinan said the move could save Irish farmers up to €5 million annually, since all slaughter animals over 72 months of age are BSE-tested at a cost of €20 each.
Mr Guinan said the decision to end BSE testing on healthy animals would ease the financial burden on farmers.
"It is great that BSE is now behind us and the disease has practically been eradicated. The cost of testing was a strain on farmers so they will welcome these savings. In these straitened times, every little helps."
Mr Guinan said the end to BSE testing would improve Ireland's reputation for cattle farming worldwide.
"The news will help Ireland open up more avenues on the beef market and help our reputation internationally so it can be taken as a positive signal for the Irish beef industry."