‘We will use all possible means to ensure delivery of TB Strategy’ - UFU

Ulster Farmer’s Union members have ‘reached the end of their tether over TB inaction’.
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The UFU has said it is prepared to employ “any resource that is required” to ensure delivery of a meaningful bovine tuberculosis eradication strategy for Northern Ireland.

At the recent executive meeting (28 February), members agreed to use all possible means, including a judicial review on the matter if necessary.

UFU president, Victor Chestnutt, stated: “Our members are eagerly awaiting an announcement on the intended route for TB eradication.

“To say that farmers are extremely frustrated and fed up with the ongoing burden of TB in NI is an understatement.

“Too many families have already suffered mentally as well as financially.

“Action that is in line with the expert, scientific advice on how to eradicate TB once and for all, needs to be taken immediately.

“To protect the livelihoods of farm families we urgently need a TB strategy that includes tackling the disease in all of its hosts.

“There were over 3,300 respondents to the consultation which closed for comment in September 2021.

“Of those who responded, almost 95 per cent were opposed to changes being made to the livestock valuation payments which farmers currently receive.

“The UFU will not tolerate any amendment to payments within the TB programme.

“The UFU will continue to exhaust every avenue that is available to ensure DAERA fully addresses this disease which has been a terrible plague on our farmers, with immediate effect,” Mr Chestnutt concluded.

In his answer to a written assembly question this week, the Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots confirmed the TB Strategy was one of a number of decisions within his department impacted by the absence of an Executive.