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TB Plans Announced for Northern Ireland

19 September 2013

UK, NORTHERN IRELAND - A new strategic partnership to eradicate tuberculosis from cattle will be in place by the end of the year, the agriculture minister has said.

The programme will incorporate biosecurity, compensation, improving farmer/vet communication and addressing wildlife.

Minister Michelle O’Neil described TB as a ‘key priority’ when addressing the press on Tuesday.

With this in mind, the government has expressed aims to launch a full strategy within 12 months of the start of the partnership.

The Minister also confirmed that cross-compliance penalties will be applied to one per cent of businesses selected for inspection and their annual TB herd test is overdue by one month. This varies from the current regime which operates on a three monthly basis.

Current ‘test and vaccinate or remove’ (TVR) research projects have made ‘good progress’, added Mrs O'Neil. The minister stressed this was important for developing an idea of how effective TVR could be as a method of disease control in the future.

Summing up current progress of TVR, Mrs O’Neil said: “Good progress has been made on the badger sett surveying in the selected areas to date. Subject to approval of the associated business case and securing the necessary licences and funding required, the actual TVR fieldwork will begin in mid 2014.

“I must stress that TVR is an intervention research project and, as such, it is not possible to pre-empt the outcome. However, the evidence produced by this research should be able to provide us with an indication of how effective TVR could be as part of a longer term TB eradication strategy.”

 

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