‘Farmers need action on TB’

Thomas Buchanan, James Managh and a DAERA representative at the meeting.
Thomas Buchanan, James Managh and a DAERA representative at the meeting.

A DUP delegation from West Tyrone has met with DAERA to discuss the on going issues with TB in the Constituency.

Speaking after the meeting, Tom Buchanan said that given the importance of the agri food sector, particularly farms in the Tyrone area, he has been liaising with DAERA on an regular basis around the issue of bovine TB.

He continued: “The impact of a herd being closed with TB is both financially and emotional difficult for all involved. I wanted to reiterate to DAERA the impact it has on farmers, causing a range of problems from cashflow to slurry storage, tax implications and higher stocking rates, even availability of fodder. The impact on the business is huge.

“I am frustrated by the lack of action taken by our Department to deal with this issue. I have sat through agriculture committees listening to evidence and the results of numerous reviews. I know TB is a complex disease but we must take a holistic approach including tackling TB in wildlife. With incidences of the disease rising we need to look carefully at the causes of TB in wildlife in particular. Proposals to cut compensation are punitive and will not deliver in reducing TB but only put more pressure on farmers.”

“In Great Britain there has been a reduction in the number of new outbreaks of bovine TB recorded in Gloucestershire and Somerset following the completion of their licensed four-year badger culls.

“Recent data published in GB shows there has been a decline in TB incidence in the first two cull areas with the rate of new confirmed breakdowns now at about half the level they were before culling began. In the Gloucestershire cull area, TB incidence has fallen from 10.4% before culling started to 5.6% in year four of the cull, while in Somerset it has reduced from 24% to 12%.”

Mid Tyrone Council candidate James Managh added: “Being a young farmer I am always aware of the implications a positive TB test can have on my farm and my business. I took the opportunity to explain to DAERA officials the impact this can have first hand and the need for action. Young farmers need encouragement and support to get involved in this sector. In the mid-Tyrone constituency DAERA need to work with the farming community to help reduce the level of TB in the cattle population as it is causing severe mental and economic hardship for many.”