Vets welcome strategy to deal with TB

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The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and BVA Northern Ireland branch welcomed the launch of the TB Strategic Partnership Group’s (TBSPG) long-term strategy document on bovine TB (bTB) eradication and Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen’s announcement that she will carefully consider the recommendations with a view to consulting on the proposed approach in early 2017.

Seamus O’Kane, president, British Veterinary Association Northern Ireland Branch, said: “We welcome this strategic, integrated and fresh approach to the eradication of this costly and devastating disease from Northern Ireland’s livestock. We are particularly pleased to see an emphasis on an increased role for vets in practice. The strategy underlines timely and appropriate communication to ensure all stakeholders know their own role in the effort to make Northern Ireland bTB free, signalling the importance of closer cooperation between farmers, vets and government.

“We are pleased to see the strategy acknowledge the need to control the wildlife reservoir, and that culling, where necessary, will be considered as part of the integrated approach. We will look carefully at the detail of any proposed culls in the future.

“Overall, we agree with the integrated approach advocated by the TBSPG’s proposed strategy and believe this is what is needed to achieve the long-term goal of TB eradication in Northern Ireland.”