Farmers Anxieties Increase Over Combatting Bovine TB

Animal Health

The Department of Agriculture (DAERA) is due to release information regarding the next steps in combatting bovine tuberculosis in Northern Ireland, however, farmers are growing increasingly impatient about the lack of improvement.

New proposals involve initiatives to tackle tuberculosis in wildlife, assessing animals outside of the ungulate family to detect bTB, and ramping up interferon gamma blood tests in cattle.

“Farmers Anxieties Increase Over Combatting Bovine TB.“

The compensation set up for cows that die of TB will also see potential changes. At the moment, farmers receive a payout reflecting the total market value of each cow with no maximum quantity. However, the authorities in Northern Ireland have decided to drop this to just 75% to maintain “a more suitable balance” between fair compensation and the views of taxpayers.

The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) founded in 1918 stated that it would be willing to “employ any resource” to support the rollout of an elimination programme for TB in Northern Ireland.

The president of the UFU, Victor Chestnutt, expressed that “to say that farmers are extremely frustrated and fed up with the ongoing burden of TB in NI is an understatement. Too many families have already suffered mentally as well as financially. Action that is in line with the expert, scientific advice on how to eradicate TB once and for all, needs to be taken immediately."

Chestnutt concluded: "The UFU will not tolerate any amendment to payments within the TB programme. The UFU will continue to exhaust every avenue that is available to ensure DAERA fully addresses this disease which has been a terrible plague on our farmers, with immediate effect.”

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