The reaction to Bovine TB plans
NEWRY & Armagh MLA William Irwin has welcomed the announcement by the minister but sounded a note of caution against lengthy procedures being undertaken which could lead to further delay.
He stated: “Our committee at Stormont has been quite forthright in requesting action from DARD on the issue of wildlife carriers of TB and this announcement by the minister is certainly a response to this pressure.”
He added: “From my own perspective as a farmer and someone who has spoken to many farmers who have had herds directly affected by TB, this issue demands an immediate and serious focus. I hope that this announcement by the minister represents a fresh approach to TB eradication however I am somewhat concerned about the timescales involved and I would urge the minister to move quickly and ensure that proposed measures hit the ground as soon as possible.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has welcomed the announcement that badgers which are found to be infected with TB will be culled within DARD’s ‘Wildlife Intervention Programme’, claiming that at long last the industry can be hopeful of concrete steps being taken.
The North Antrim MLA said: “After many years of hardship for the industry, not to mention the massive expense of well in excess of £300m to the taxpayer, DARD have now realised that they have no choice but to acknowledge the detrimental impact of the presence of TB in Northern Ireland’s badger population.
“Their intention to trap badgers, vaccinating those which are healthy and culling those which infected, does make sense however I was disappointed that the minister was only able to come to Committee with the headline announcement but very little detail to accompany it.”
He said significant questions remain however, not least on the practicalities of the testing.
“The department’s intention to use an animal side test with real time results is to be especially welcomed, however they have yet to identify what test they will use and how it will be administered. What we don’t want to see is DARD veterinary officers having to spend exorbitant amounts of time waiting for results of a badger which has to remain anesthetised in a cage beside them.
“Senior DARD officials indicated that they may use a Stat-Pack test, however this was only a possibility, and even then I would be concerned that badgers previously caught and vaccinated may potentially appear positive if caught again.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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