Vets urged to engage with bTB consultation as deadline looms
The Ulster Farmers’ Union has urged its members to take a hard look at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ latest bovine tuberculosis eradication plans, which include the possible introduction of badger culling.
UFU animal health and welfare chairman, Andrew McCammond said, “For years the UFU has urged DAERA to come up with a realistic strategy to tackle this problem. It is vital members read the plans, which have far reaching implications for the industry. Debate is crucial and farmers must be fully engaged, given the financial and mental health impact of TB across Northern Ireland.”
The consultation focusses on enhanced cattle measures and testing, the expansion of molecular techniques and legislation to enable the department to test non-bovines. The document also outlines herd health management and biosecurity improvements, badger intervention and compensation payments.
“All these issues have far-reaching implications and are by their nature long term, given that a quick fix is impossible. This is the first opportunity farmers have had to influence the future of a TB eradication strategy in Northern Ireland.
“I would encourage every farmer to respond to the consultation. We must grasp this opportunity and develop a solution that will work for the farming industry. The UFU is working tirelessly on the issue and will be releasing details of a webinar directly to its members in the coming days,” said Mr McCammond.
The plea comes as Sarah Tomlinson, above, the technical director for the TB Advisory Service, urged vets in Northern Ireland to also engage with the DAERA consultation.
Writing for the upcoming edition of NI Veterinary Today, she said: “Having worked in the same areas for the whole 20 years of my career I really do understand the pain and heartbreak TB breakdowns cause.
“I have seen first-hand the impacts reactors have on mental health. This is why I am so passionate about the role we have as private vets in TB eradication. I urge you all to complete DAERA’s bTB consultation on future policy and have your say and encourage your farm clients to do so as well.”
To view DAERA’s bTB eradication strategy visit the following link, https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-departments-proposed-implementation-and-next-steps-btb-eradication-strategy-northern