Donegal Fianna Fáil Senator Brian O’Domhnaill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on whether TB testing services could be exempted from needing the assistance of a veterinary practice. He said he could also give consideration to exempting other minor routine procedures such as the castration of young cattle.
Speaking during a debate on a new Veterinary Practice Bill he said the Minister mentioned that procedures such as the scanning of cattle and sheep, bovine hoof-trimming, physiotherapy, equine dentistry and microchipping of dogs and pets could be excluded from the necessity of being performed by a registered vet.
Other procedures he might consider include the dehorning of cattle, as well as the scanning of sheep, he said.
“The difficulty with using a registered vet is that such services can be expensive, particularly when one takes into account that these procedures are minor in comparison with other more complicated and emergency-type procedures that may be required on farms or in the case of pets or companion animals,” he said.
“On the other hand, many people close to the agricultural field may be aware of old cures,” he said. “For example, I have encountered people in the North-West with a cure for orf in sheep. While one might call it a prayer-type cure, it is for the treatment of orf in sheep and I have seen at first-hand on our farm how it actually works. Moreover, the veterinary treatment for orf in sheep did not work. I personally have been involved in bringing sheep to someone who has been able to provide a cure and it has actually worked.”
In reply, Minister Coveney said the approach he had taken was to set down the principles and policies which a Minister would be obliged to take into account in determining, through ministerial regulations, whether a particular procedure can and should be exempted.
“In other words, the Bill is enabling legislation which will allow me to consider whether particular procedures comply with these principles and policies and whether such procedures should be exempted,” he said.
The Bill passed all Stages in the Dáil and Seanad.