Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that the second year of the Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) Wildlife Intervention Research Project is now underway in a 100km² area around Banbridge, Co Down.
Year one of the Project was completed in September 2014 during which there were 630 badger capture events in the TVR area. This was made up of 280 unique badgers plus a further 350 re-captured badgers, with some badgers being captured on more than one occasion.
The Minister said: “TB disease has a significant financial impact on farmers due to movement restrictions, loss of productivity and follow up herd testing, and also on the Department, in terms of compensation payments and animal testing. TVR is a unique project across these islands, which involves the capture of wild badgers, sampling, micro-chipping and vaccinating them against bovine TB.
“The second year of the TVR Wildlife Intervention Research Project has commenced in a 100km² area around Banbridge. From this year, any captured badgers which test positive for bovine TB will be humanely put to sleep and removed from the area.
“The aim of the TVR research project is to describe the effects of implementing a test and vaccinate or remove approach on badgers in the Banbridge area, which is an area of high TB prevalence in cattle. The TVR Research Project will also greatly add to our knowledge base and provide currently unknown data on badgers.”
The Minister thanked farmers and land owners within the research area for their continued support of the TVR project and urged others to consider taking part. She said: “I would like to thank the remarkable number of farmers and land owners who granted access to their land last year to enable my veterinary staff to carry out this important work.
“I would ask any farmer or land owner who did not take part last year to consider doing so as we move forward into year’s two to five of the TVR Project. Please contact my Department for further information and to arrange an appointment with a departmental researcher. Once my officials receive permission to access private land, no further practical involvement will be required from farmers or land owners.”