And the results are in! Here at Agridirect.ie, we asked farmers for their opinion about the Irish Government’s plan to introduce wormer regulations next January. The regulations, which take effect on 28 January 2022, will require farmers to obtain a veterinary prescription to access fluke and worm treatments. Our poll, which went live on this site on 30 July 2021, asked farmers the following question:
Do you support the Irish Government’s plan to introduce stricter regulations on the sale of animal medicines?
Of 104 poll participants, 87.5% oppose regulation, while 8.65% were in favour. A further 3.75% were undecided. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine claims that the regulations are necessary to combat rising anthelminthic resistance on Irish farms.
Cost to farmers
However, the result of our poll suggests that farmers agree with opposition groups like the Irish Licensed Merchants Association (ILMA). The ILMA claims that the new regulations will allow vets to monopolise the sale of wormers, leading to price hikes for farmers on the ground. Speaking to a joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine earlier this year, Roscommon TD Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice claimed that small farmers will suffer the most from the new regulations. “If this starts,” Deputy Fitzmaurice said, “then God help the small farmer, because the big guy will always be the winner.”
The ILMA also maintains that the new regulations will lead to hundreds of job losses in rural communities. The Association claims that the proposed legislation will make the role of Responsible Persons, currently permitted under Irish Law to sell Licensed Merchant medicines on retail premises without a prescription, redundant. Spokespersons for the ILMA have proposed an alternative. They say they support the formation of a regulatory body for Responsible Persons in the retail sector. This new body would create and maintain a code of practice to ensure responsible prescription practices among retailers, address environmental concerns and safeguard the viability of medicinal ingredients.
However, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is continuing to press for stricter regulation and is proceeding with its plan to introduce full regulation on 28 January. For the full story on wormer regulation, and how it pertains to EU legislation, check out our article from last month! Thanks for reading.