McAleer urges farmers to have their say in bovine TB consultation
Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed plans by DAERA to publish the draft Bovine TB Eradication Strategy for an 8-week public consultation.
Mr McAleer, pictured, said: “We need to get Bovine TB under control. At a herd incidence rate of 8.86% compared to 4.3% in the south, the bTB programme costs almost £40 million per year.
“We have also lost £5 million per year from the EU Fund for Disease Eradication. This contributed towards the bTB programme but now there is a £5 million shortfall, courtesy of Brexit.
“My party colleague Michelle O’Neill commissioned the Test Vaccinate Remove (TVR) wildlife intervention study in 2014 and set up the TB Strategic Partnership Group (TBSPG), an expert advisory body to develop a long term strategy.
“This group published a bTB Eradication Strategy in 2016 which set out a series of inter-related proposals including health management, partnership, wildlife, research and finance and DAERA consulted on this in 2017/18. The new bTB Eradication Strategy will build on this report.
“BTB is an issue that the department needs to get under control. The bovine market is worth £1.7 billion per year to the local economy and the impact on farm businesses and farmers’ mental health is profound.”
Mr McAleer concluded: “With our bTB herd incidence rates twice as high as the south and with enormous challenges facing us in terms of future funding, I encourage farmers and other rural stakeholders to have their say on the new Bovine TB Eradication Strategy when it open for public consultation in the near future.”