Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said that wildlife control measures in areas of the UK and Republic of Ireland are having a positive effect on incidence rates of Bovine TB.
Mr Irwin, who is an advocate of wildlife control as a tool in the eradication of this costly disease, said that where focused efforts to deal with wildlife carriers takes place, disease rates reduce.
He stated: “The most recent statistics show that Northern Ireland continues to give cause for concern in terms of TB incidence levels and this has a huge impact on our agricultural industry in general.
“The compensation bill associated with TB in Northern Ireland due to the very high prevalence of the disease has rocketed to a staggering £40million, however in my opinion what is equally concerning is the very lack lustre approach of the Department in their eradication strategy.
“I have stated before on many occasions that the TVR programme is simply much too slow and laborious a process to yield any tangible results. That much is certainly clear when we look at the monthly disease statistics which continue to show a rising trend,” added Mr Irwin.
“When other regions of the UK and Ireland show trends reducing and those regions have active wildlife control programs in operation, it does bring Northern Ireland into sharp focus. Other regions are expanding their cull programmes based on hard statistics which prove the effectiveness of culling. The time for more direct action on wildlife carriers is surely long past and the Department must look at the statistics as the current trends are cause for alarm.”