Irwin says TB strategy must work
Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said that whilst work around a TB eradication strategy will intensify he said that farmers would want to see a common sense strategy which tackled the root sources of TB and that treated farmers fairly.
Mr Irwin said: “As we know Bovine TB costs the Department in the region of £40million per year and it is concerning that over many years incidence levels have remained at concerningly high levels. The impact of this not only relates to the obvious financial burdens but also the stress on the farmer and the upheaval of having movement restrictions placed on herds.
“In my elected representative role I have assisted many farmers through various hurdles associated with TB and the Department actions around testing and the many issues this can present for farmers trying to chart a path through an outbreak and ultimately get to the position of having restrictions lifted.
“Make no mistake about it, the level of time, effort, finance and energy expended in dealing with testing and TB in a herd is monumental and it all points fairly and squarely to the need for the implementation of a strategy that drives down incidence levels and also treats the farmer fairly, those are two vital aspects of any new direction.”
He continued: “I will say that I know in Edwin Poots MLA, the industry has a Minister that understands these pressures and the importance of introducing a strategy that will hopefully achieve the desired results. The consultation phase I understand is to begin soon and that in itself will be an important process where we will gauge the plan and what it will mean for the industry.
“There will, in my view, need to be an element of the plan that effectively deals with the issue of wildlife carriers and intervention in that regard will be vital to give the very best chance to put a severe dent in the statistics and drive down this disease and work positively towards eradication.”