Comprehensive and strategic TB eradication response a ‘welcome step forward’

The ministerial statement on the TB Eradication Strategy is a “welcome step forward” assemblyman William Irwin has said.

Read: bTB Eradication Strategy launched - Includes additional cattle measures and badger interventionThe Newry and Armagh MLA said a very comprehensive and strategic response was needed, as the costs and upheaval associated with cases of Bovine TV in herds is “so impactful”.

“There is no doubt that the cost and upheaval of this disease is something that brings significant pressure to the farmer, to the wider agri-food industry and the department itself in terms of time and financial resources,” Mr Irwin stated.

“The ministerial statement today (Thursday) by Edwin Poots MLA is a welcome step forward and does show intent on the part of DAERA to be more strategic and more comprehensive in its overall strategy and response to this costly disease.

William Irwin MLA
William Irwin MLA
William Irwin MLA

“The fact that £40 million per year is spent on this issue is something that is concerning and, as the minister has said, should be an incentive to get the TB strategy right and get incidence rates to plummet.”

Mr Irwin continued: “The minister’s comments recognise the good practice by farmers on biosecurity and the fact that despite their best of efforts, they still face TB breakdowns.

“This is the most frustrating element of this disease and it does point the strategy in the direction of wildlife carriers and the need for wider action on that front.

“The Minister has also ruled out any immediate action to reduce compensation payments, and I welcome that fact given the significant journey that must be taken by the industry in tandem with the department to see incidence rates drop initially, before any consideration of the rates of compensation to farmers.

“The two-year review recommendation is an important recognition of the fact farmers are already doing their level best and will be only too happy to assist in playing their part in any final strategy delivery,” Mr Irwin ended.