Deer bTB survey - Deadline reminder

Red deer in Chatsworth. They are usually difficult to find during the busy times at Chatsworth but on this occasion there were very few visitors and I came across them within 10 minutes of setting off from the house sent in by Neil Frith
Red deer in Chatsworth. They are usually difficult to find during the busy times at Chatsworth but on this occasion there were very few visitors and I came across them within 10 minutes of setting off from the house sent in by Neil Frith

You will most likely be aware of the current bTB epidemic in cattle in Northern Ireland.

The eradication programme for bTB costs an estimated £40 million per year, with an average of 1000 cattle culled each month.

But despite these large-scale eradication efforts, bTB remains a huge problem for the NI farming sector.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) would like to raise your awareness of a research project being carried out into bovine Tuberculosis in deer in NI. This project aims to gain a better understanding of the extent of bTB in Red, Sika and Fallow deer.

AFBI hope this work will have several benefits, including; a clearer picture of the role deer may play in the current TB epidemic in cattle, an improved understanding of the biosecurity implications of processing and consuming venison; a greater appreciation of the animal health and welfare consequences of this disease and the production of novel scientific knowledge.

 AFBI are asking members of the deer stalking community to provide the heads (with antlers removed) of shot animals for TB testing. Samples will be collected from a convenient location by the DAERA Wildlife Unit. For anyone aware of the DAERA fox survey, sample collection will work in much the same way, and use the same telephone number (028 9076 5333).

This survey is set to run from 1 November 2019 to 31 March 2020.

In the meantime, AFBI would be very grateful if any interested parties would provide them with a small amount of information to aid in the set-up of project logistics. If possible, they would ask for a name, contact email/number, and the DVO (divisional veterinary office) you are likely to be operating in (for map – https://countrysideallianceireland.org/latest-news/deer-btb-survey-can-you-help/).

All information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and in line with GDPR regulations.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Siobhán Porter at siobhan.porter@afbini.gov.uk or 028 9051 9495.