McIlveen determined in her efforts to eradicate Bovine TB

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Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has restated her commitment to drive forward the eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) from the cattle population in Northern Ireland.

The Minister was speaking in Belfast at the formal launch of the TB Strategic Partnership Group’s (TBSPG) long-term strategy document on TB eradication.

Speaking at the launch, Miss McIlveen said: “I welcome the publication of a proposed long-term strategy to eradicate bTB from Northern Ireland and I thank, and commend, the members of the TB Strategic Partnership Group for their dedicated focus on this issue over the past two years.”

The TBSPG is a high-level advisory group established in 2014, chaired by Sean Hogan. The group was tasked with developing a strategy and implementation action plan to effect a progressive and sustained reduction of TB in the cattle population here, with a view to eventual eradication.

The Minister continued: “Since taking up my post, I have travelled extensively across Northern Ireland and have heard first hand, from many farmers, of the economic and social impacts of a disease that has blighted the industry for much too long.

“One of my key objectives is delivering a profitable farming industry and I am determined to do everything I can, in partnership with industry, to safeguard our £1billion plus livestock industry which depends significantly on exports.

“Over the coming weeks, I intend to consider carefully the TBSPG Strategy in full. I have asked my officials to examine the proposed recommendations in detail and have tasked them to bring forward options for my consideration. My aim is to formally consult on my proposed approach early in 2017.”