Soaring TB rate in Fermanagh considered by local council

​​A “dramatic increase” in the incidence of TB was discussed by Fermanagh and Omagh Council during its monthly September meeting.
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A motion brought forward by the Ulster Unionist Party noted the overall recent record herd incidence rates for Northern Ireland, but expressed “particular concern” about the fact that incidence levels have almost doubled within the Enniskillen Divisional Veterinary Office in the last 12 months.Moving the motion during the meeting, UUP councillor for Erne West, Mark Ovens, said: “The recent herd incidence rate for Northern Ireland was a record 10-11%. Yet the figures for the Enniskillen Divisional Veterinary area show that the local rate was actually an alarming 14.6%. The figures have exploded locally - 12 months ago the rate was 7.7%.”He continued: “In the five years from 2018-2022 a total of 11,300 cattle in the County were slaughtered and over £16.3m paid out in compensation.“And, due to the record rate of the disease now gripping the county, the number of cattle being removed from farms across Fermanagh will once again be through the roof.“Whilst the compensation is a help, farmers would much rather have the alternative of a disease-free herd any day. Now, as if the disease wasn’t already hard enough on local farms, DAERA have started raising the prospect of cutting the compensation rates again because of the shortfall in funding. Whilst it is true that the annual £50m cost of the disease is now wholly unaffordable, it’s ridiculous that DAERA - who have been responsible for the mishandling of the disease for so long now – would seek to now pass even more of the burden back onto farms.”

Cllr Ovens continued: “DAERA say publicly at least that they are still committed to reducing and ultimately eradicating TB in cattle, but that’s a million miles away from reality on the ground especially in areas where the rate of the disease is soaring."

It was agreed unanimously that DAERA would be contacted to explain in detail what targeted, practical and actual measures it would be taking now to reduce the spread of the disease and stop it wreaking further havoc across Fermanagh and Omagh.