Vets who carry out inspections in meat factories around the country are to start a work-to-rule today in a row over proposals to give some of their work to technical agricultural officers.

However, the action is not expected to significantly affect supplies of meat in the run-up to Christmas.

Veterinary Ireland, which represents the vets, is in dispute with the Department of Agriculture over the plan to cut costs by replacing temporary vets with lower paid officials.

The supply of turkeys will not be affected, as most of the temporary vets are employed in beef, lamb and pig meat plants.