Farmer calls for more ‘human’ response

Library picture
Library picture

A Ballygawley farmer is calling on DEARA to be ‘more human’ when it comes to dealing with farmers involved in TB cases.

The man recently had one cow removed from his farm after a TB test proved inconclusive. Since his family started farming in the area in 1948, they have never had a single case of TB on the farm.

The hobby farmer explained how the annual TB test was carried out in January and one test came back as ‘inconclusive’. A vet from DAERA then came out to the farm in March when it was concluded that the animal was a reactor. The process of valuation then got underway and arrangements were made for the young Charolais cow to be collected. However, it was then found that the cow only had one tag and the farmer was told he needed a second tag for the animal before it could be taken away.

A lorry was arranged to come on May 19th to take the cow away, however the farmer claimed it never turned up and he was then informed by the DAERA vet that the process would then be transferred to the enforcement people.

He said they came and took the cow away when he wasn’t on the premises.

He added: “There was no explanation about why the lorry never turned up. I’m over 60 so I don’t really take all that much notice of the mobile phone. If I ever get a message I always make sure to phone.

“They came out and took the cow two weeks ago to WD Meats and there were no lesions but now they have sent the lymph nodes away and they are going to try to grow the disease. I feel that they are a law unto themselves. I am just a small hobby farmer and I care about my animals so I wanted them to do another test on the cow to give her another chance. I have never had TB here and I operate a closed herd, yet they wanted to do a third test on the other animals.

“I have only got five cows and at the minute I have 16 cattle in total because I can’t get them sold.”

The farmer pointed out that at no stage had he been obstructive in the case and he said he felt he had not been given enough information from DAERA. He had to make independent inquiries to find out the process around the lymph nodes.

“If the disease doesn’t appear in 56 days then they take it that the cow is clear, but if it did have TB then the disease will be there in a week. I just feel that DEARA should act a bit more human and explain things better to farmers. If a phone call is missed then they should be able to drop you a letter,” he added.

In response a DAERA spokesperson said: “DAERA’s TB Programme is based on the testing of all herds in compliance with EU legislation and the prompt removal of reactor animals. We cannot comment on individual cases.”