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Coughlan announces details of incentives for National Genotype Programme

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan, today confirmed details of the financial incentives being introduced with effect from 28 May 2007 to encourage greater farmer participation in the National Genotype Programme (NGP).

Describing the NGP as an important element in increasing the level of resistance to scrapie in the national sheep flock, the Minister said that she hoped that the financial incentives being announced today would significantly increase the number of flockowner participants, particularly commercial flockowners, in the programme.

The Minister confirmed that the incentives being announced were an integral part of a comprehensive package of measures which would secure the future of the Irish sheep sector. Ms Coughlan said that, in terms of the NGP, her Department would make a contribution to each participating flockowner of €50 towards the cost of one veterinarian visit per flock as well as paying compensation in respect of those category 4 and 5 male sheep that, having been genotyped, were regarded as being susceptible or highly susceptible to scrapie and which would have to be removed for slaughter. The rates at which compensation will be paid are set out in the following table:

Pedigree Non - Pedigree
Ram Lambs €350 -
Hogget Lambs €500 €350
Older Lambs €200 €150

To qualify for compensation, rams must be removed on permit for slaughter to a registered meat plant on or before 1 October 2007 while, to attract the pedigree rate of compensation, rams must have a pedigree certificate and be identified by indicating their pedigree identifier on the initial NGP application form. Otherwise, animals found carrying the VRQ allele will attract the non-pedigree rate of compensation.

The amount of compensation that will be paid to any one claimant in 2007 will be capped at ?1,200.

Minister Coughlan also confirmed that her Department would continue to pay the €12 subvention for each sample tested at the approved laboratory.

Noting that on previous occasions when she had incentivised participation in the programme participation rates had increased, the Minister said she hoped that the same would happen this year.

Ms Coughlan also said that her Department was considering the implementation of a new EU Regulation which, among other things, allows Member States to introduce breeding programmes to select for resistance to TSEs, such as scrapie, in their sheep and goat flocks.

The Minister confirmed that any such programme, if introduced in Ireland, would have consequences for the continuation of the NGP and said that her officials would be consulting with the industry about the implementation of the Regulation and its consequential implications for the NGP.

21 May, 2007

Date Released: 21 May 2007