Support for TBEP targeted proposal

UFU deputy president David Brown on his farm in Fermanagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU deputy president David Brown on his farm in Fermanagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the only way Bovine TB will ever be eradicated in Northern Ireland is if there is meaningful action to address it in wildlife, alongside cattle, in a way that is evidence based and cost effective.

The comments were made as the TB Eradication Partnership (TBEP) recommended DAERA follow the Republic of Ireland (ROI) approach to wildlife management, with targeted intervention in TB hotspots where veterinary investigation has identified wildlife involvement in the local TB problem.

UFU deputy president, David Brown said: “We have met TBEP and are supportive of their proposal to follow the ROI model to tackle TB in wildlife. It is a policy that is backed by 15 years of evidence and results.

“While the Test, Vaccinate, and Remove strategy remains an unproven option with the research findings still unpublished and no evidence that it is cost effective at controlling TB in wildlife or cattle.”

The UFU has long held the position that there must be meaningful action to control TB in wildlife before any proposals around cuts to compensation can be considered.

“The UFU has rejected the compensation cut proposals put forward by the TBSPG group, which would have had a financial impact on farmers affected by TB.

“TB will never be eradicated if we do not take meaningful action to remove it from the wildlife population,” said Mr Brown.

The UFU animal health and welfare policy committee will be discussing the TBEP proposals in full at its next meeting in October.