Farmers’ union calls for TB Strategy to be put into practice

Farmers’ union calls for TB Strategy to be put into practice

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has again urged the the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs to implement the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Strategy for Northern Ireland, with herd incidence now above 9% – the highest level since 2019.

UFU deputy president John McLenaghan said, “TB herd incidence rates are still increasing much to the distress of our members, and we met with DAERA officials recently (20 July) to ensure all parties are continuing their efforts to implement the revised TB strategy.

“While it’s extremely positive that we have this once in a generation opportunity to eradicate TB from Northern Ireland, farmers are and will continue to suffer emotionally and financially until the revised strategy is put in place. We have made such progress up until this point, but we need to keep going to get this over the line.

“The number of reactors removed in the last 12 months now sits at 14632. This is an increase of 1425 in the same period last year.

“This plague of a disease is removing more than 280 cattle per week from our industry, before they even have the chance to reach their full production potential. We need everyone in the industry to work together, doing everything in its power to get the revised TB strategy rolled out.

“There is ongoing frustration amongst our membership that controlled herds have a role to play to ease pressure on TB affected herds in similarity to other parts in the UK.

It’s essential that DAERA continue to move forward on the development of this and we continue to encourage DAERA to remove TB reactor cattle from herds as promptly as possible after testing. By implementing all of these measures, our livestock farmers can gain peace of mind knowing that we have an appropriate approach in place that will support us in eradicating this plight of a disease once and for all.”