Animal Health Schemes


IFA welcome the relaxation to Brucellosis testing controls announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveny which is worth €3m in savings annually for farmers.

Removing heifers under 24 months of age from the 60 day pre-movement test requirement is a significant saving and facilitates the mart sale of 150,000 animals without the need for costly testing. Combined with the discontinuation of the 1 movement rule for pre-movement tested animals the new measures facilitate easier trade of female animals for farmers.

Reducing the level of annual blood testing in suckler herds to only 20% of herds aligns the testing for these with the level of testing in dairy herds and removes another significant cost burden for farmers.

These changes are in line with the relaxation sought by IFA and are consistent with the approach of a gradual reduction in testing controls which still exceed those required under EU trade regulations.

The Brucellosis testing controls for 2014 are;

  • 20% of suckler and dairy herds tested in annual round test
    the age threshold for annual round testing is breeding animals over 24 months only;
  • only breeding animals ( heifers, cows and bulls) over 24 months of age require a pre-movement test
  • the validity period of the pre-movement test is 60 days;
  • the one sale rule no longer applies to pre-movement tested animals, once the test is in date the animal can be sold onwards.



BSE testing has being discontinued for all clean slaughter animals. This is worth almost €5m in savings for farmers.


Herds are no longer depopulated as a result of a BSE case. Following the diagnosis of a BSE positive animal, the herd is restricted to allow for all cohorts and progeny of the affected animal to be identified and traced. These animals are valued using the parameters of the live valuation scheme without the maximum/ceilings applying. Following completion of the valuation process the animals are removed for destruction and tested for BSE.

BVD Eradication Programme

The compulsory phase of the programme commenced on 1st January 2013. This requires all calves born on/after 1st January 2013 to be tested for BVD. Animals without a negative result are not permitted to be moved off the holding unless direct to a knackery or for slaughter.

Details of the programme are as follows:

The programme will consist of three years of tissue tag testing of all calves followed by a further three years of low level surveillance.

Herds with positive results will need to carry out additional testing to identify any further PI cattle. Results will be sent to ICBF who will then pass them to the farmer along with any follow-up actions.

BVD results will be displayed on mart boards and herdowners will be able to generate declarations for private sales.

Programme Guidelines

  • Tissue tag all calves at the earliest opportunity.
  • Test all calves born into the herd, including stillbirths.
  • Samples should be returned to the designated laboratory of choice at the earliest opportunity but not later than 7 days after sampling.
  • Carry out all necessary follow up testing following the discovery of a PI animal, which at minimum includes the testing of the dam of the positive calf, and if found positive the other offspring of the dam.
  • Remove Pi animals from the farm at the earliest opportunity. €100 support payment is available to suckler farmers for second and subsequent PI calves disposed of.

Farmers in the BGS are required to dispose of PI animals in order to be eligible for payments.

All animals born after 1st January 2013 imported into the country will have to be tested negative for BVD before they will be allowed move from the holding of the importer.


Advice to Farmers experiencing a TB breakdown

Note: On smartphones more details are available by swiping left and right within tables or by viewing in landscape mode

Farmers are entitled to and should demand

  1. An immediate investigation by the Department of Agriculture into the source of the infection;
  2. On identification of the source of infection immediate removal by the Department of Agriculture;
  3. Where wildlife has been identified as the source of infection a full report as to the number of wildlife removed from their farm and the surrounding area and the details of follow up capture plans.

TB and Brucellosis Eradication Scheme Compensation Arrangements

Animals being removed under the TB and Brucellosis eradication schemes are done so under the Live Valuation Scheme. The purpose of this scheme is to compensate farmers at the value the animals being removed would attain if being sold on the open market.

IFA have strongly objected to Department of Agriculture proposals to offer a desk top valuation of single reactor animals.

The main features of the scheme are

  • Farmers have the option to choose an independent valuer from a list of up to five valuers supplied by the Dept. of Agriculture, whose role is to price the animals individually. Where unsuitable valuers are offered the option to select from the overall national list of valuers is available to the farmer.
  • A ceiling of €2,800 (inclusive of factory salvage price) will apply to payment in respect of any single animal, except in respect of one pedigree stock bull per farm where a ceiling of €3,500 (inclusive of factory salvage price) applies. IFA strongly object to these ceiling amounts and continue to demand full market price in the scheme.
  • Where a farmer or the Department do not accept the first valuation, either party can appeal to another valuer on the panel. On appeal of the first valuation by either party the amount offered would be the second valuation only regardless as to whether it is higher or lower than the first.

Appeal costs for farmers are now set at

No. of Animals Valued Cost €
1 – 4 50
5 – 30 68
31 – 50 84
51 or more 84 + 1 for each animal above 50
  • If either party reject the second valuation the arbitration panel, whose decision will be final and binding on both parties, will deal with the matter. The arbitrator will decide on cost liability. The arbitration panel consists of an independent arbitrator, a farmer representative and a Department of Agriculture representative.
  • Following completion of the on-farm valuation process the Reactor Collection Service remove the reactor animals from the farm

Valuers are provided weekly with Guideline Prices for all categories of animals


In order to receive payments farmers must submit the following documents to the D.V.O.:

  • Tax Clearance cert. If payments over €10,000
  • Factory slaughter dockets.
  • Disinfection Certificate.

Income Loss Payments

Farmers may qualify for 1 of 2 payments as a result of animals being removed as reactors to compensate for income loss, Income supplement or Depopulation grant.

The current terms and rates of payment of the schemes are as follow


Income supplement is payable where disease breakdown results in the removal of more than 10% of animals in the herd and where depopulation is deemed not appropriate. Payment is in respect of each animal removed as a reactor from the herd, subject to a maximum of 100 animals qualifying for payment. Income supplement eligibility will cease in the event of:

  • Animals being purchased or moved into a restricted holding, other than a replacement bull or a bull in a newly established suitable enterprise with the permission of the DVO.
  • The farmer failing to cooperate with veterinary inspectors or authorised officers in carrying out their duties under the Disease Eradication Schemes.
  • Depopulation of the herd being deemed appropriate by the Department. (in this situation payments will adjust to Depopulation Grant rates and conditions)

T.B. Income Supplement Monthly Rates

Pedigree Non-Pedigree Transient
Suckler cows €38.09 €38.09 nil
Dairy cows / Other Animals €25.39 €25.39 nil

Brucellosis Income Supplement Monthly Rates

Pedigree Non-Pedigree Transient
Suckler cows €38.09 €38.09 nil
Dairy cows / Other Animals €25.39 €25.39 nil


Farmers whose herds are depopulated totally or partially in the interests of disease control may qualify for Depopulation Grants. Grants are paid for each animal removed in the depopulation measure and also for those removed as reactors since the holding was restricted. Payment is conditional on the farmer’s agreement to the depopulation. Payment is made in respect of each month of the rest period.

TB depopulation grant rates

Animal Category Payment per month (max 4 months)
Pedigree Non Pedigree Transient
Dairy cows & in-calf heifers,Pedigree bulls > 12 months €57.13 €57.13
Other cows / in-calf heifers €31.74 €31.74
Other animals €19.04 €19.04

Brucellosis depopulation grant rates

Animal Category Maximum payment for 4 months
Standard Rate Standard Rates Plus Other Rate
Dairy cows & in-calf heifers,Pedigree bulls > 12 months €126.97 €228.55
Other cows / in-calf heifers €126.97 €126.97
Other animals €38.09 €76.18

Note: Depopulation grant rates quoted above represent the maximum available in respect of depopulation. Pro rata deductions or increases will be made if the rest period specified after depopulation is less than or more than 4 months.

Standard rate plus is payable where purchased in animals have met the voluntary post movement test requirements.


The Hardship Grant is designed to assist restricted herd owners where animals have to be retained and fed while restricted. The eligible period is between 1 November and 30 April.   This grant is payable once eligibility is accepted as long as the herd continues to be restricted subject to a maximum of four months. The grant is intended to facilitate the purchase of fodder. The grant can provide herd owners with up to €253.94 per month. The herd must be restricted for 60 days before it qualifies for payment.

Current Conditions of the Scheme

Payment will cease in any of the following circumstances:

  • De-restriction of herd
  • Supply of any milk for sale
  • Receipt of any off farm income
  • Animals, other than a replacement bull or a bull in a newly established suitable enterprise, being purchased or moved into a restricted holding with the permission of the District Veterinary Office
  • The herd owner fails to cooperate with Veterinary Inspectors or other authorised officers
  • Depopulation of the herd being deemed appropriate by the Department of Agriculture and Food


The onus is on the herd owner to apply for the hardship grant. The completed application form should be submitted to the District Veterinary Office. Payment will only apply for the eligible period after receipt of the application form.

Link to Department of Agriculture Compensation arrangements for TB and Brucellosis schemes

Special tax treatment of compulsory livestock disposals for disease eradication purposes

The detailed provisions are contained in Section 668 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, and were amended by Section 49 of the 2001 Finance Act, Section 29 of the 2002 Finance Act and Section 33 of the 2008 Finance Act.

These special provisions were introduced following an intensive campaign by the Irish Farmers Association in 1994/1995, 2001/2002 and further amended in 2008.

The 2008 amendment deals specifically with broadening the qualifying criteria to include all animals removed for TB purposes; previously the concession was only available for full TB Depopulations.

As the provisions of this important relief are complex, farmers seeking to avail of this relief should consult with their tax adviser/accountant.

18 month TB test validity for purchased in animals going to slaughter

This rule change, secured by IFA, is worth €30 per animal in savings from reduced private testing fees and weight loss from assembling of animals unnecessarily prior to slaughter

Animals purchased in are now eligible for slaughter up to 18 months since their last herd test provided the herd of origin is inside 12 months of its last TB test.

Where animals between 12 and 18 months of their last TB test are presented for slaughter, they will be accepted for slaughter as normal, this will then trigger a check on the test profile of animals in the herd.

Herds where less than 20% of the cattle have not been tested within the previous 12 months (including those slaughtered on the day): A letter will issue to the herdowner advising him of the presence of out of test animals in the herd. He will also be informed of the implications of exceeding the 20% threshold. (See below).

Herds where more than 20% of the animals on the holding have not been tested within the previous 12 months (including those slaughtered on the day): The herd will be trade restricted, for outward movement, e.g. farm-to-farm and mart sales, with the exception of animals moved directly to slaughter up until the next scheduled herd test date. Alternatively, the herdowner may opt to test the out of date animals or bring forward the herd test or under certain conditions be permitted by the DVO to move animals out on permit (e.g. to a feedlot or following a recent pre-movement test).


Feedlot herds with a pre-registered agreement with the DVO will ordinarily have permission to move in cattle for fattening and to move animals to slaughter in accordance with their specific agreement. These herds will also avail of the 18 month TB test validity for purchased in animals.

Animals not tested for more than 18 months

The policy is that an animal that has not been tested within an 18 month period is not allowed under any circumstances to move out of the holding, even direct to slaughter. However, in cases where such an animal is presented for slaughter, the animal will be slaughtered and the herd will be immediately trade restricted such that no movement will be permitted out of the herd. This restriction may include movements to slaughter, other than permitted by the DVO until all of animals in the herd have been tested for TB.   Normal disease control rules will apply.


The Department of Agriculture will no longer collect the blue cards from TB restricted holdings. This removes the need to acquire permits for slaughter animals or have their cards stamped “Slaughter Only”.

Farmers can now use the blue cards for slaughter animals from restricted holdings as if not restricted.


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