UUP meet with bovine TB eradication group

Ulster Unionist Leader Doug Beattie and Rosemary Barton MLA have met with representatives of the Northern Ireland TB Eradication Partnership.

Rosemary Barton,  Doug Beattie, Sean Hogan, and Albert and Colin Foster
Rosemary Barton, Doug Beattie, Sean Hogan, and Albert and Colin Foster

Mr Beattie said: “Following the DAERA consultation on bTB Eradication Strategy for Northern Ireland I was keen to hear from the experts who are advising on the proposals for eradication of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Northern Ireland.

“I took the opportunity to visit the farm of Albert and Colin Foster in Fermanagh who have recently lost their dairy herd to bTB disease and met there with representatives of the Northern Ireland TB Eradication Partnership, including its Chairperson Sean Hogan.

“It was certainly an educational experience to hear of the decades of planning that goes into such a farm business as the Foster’s, the high farm quality standards that they meet, but then have all those years of work wiped out by Bovine Tuberculosis.”

Mrs Barton said: “I raised the matter of the significant reduction in compensation for bTB reactor cattle proposed within the DAERA Implementation Strategy. We must remember that there is absolutely no compensation for the loss of income when there is a herd breakdown through this disease.

“The only revenue available to farmers in such circumstances is the approximate market value of the animals that are being taken off farm, to reduce this payment to well below market value would be totally unfair and unreasonable for the farmer, the impact of having cattle removed from their farm has a huge negative financial impact on the farmer due to the loss of income, a further financial burden by them not even receiving market value for their animals is not sustainable.

“It is vital to find options to reduce the level of bTB incidents, which would then result with a much reduced financial burden on the public purse.”