Stakeholder collaboration towards TB Eradication

Thursday, 7 February, 2013

Following Minister O’Neill’s announcement outlining plans to introduce a geographically targeted preliminary badger sett survey in the County Down area, representatives from Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), National Beef Association (NBA), and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA), forming part of the TB Stakeholder Group, met last week to discuss the next steps in this process.

UFU President Harry Sinclair said, “The Ministers announcement last week is a significant development in our battle to eradicate bovine TB in Northern Ireland. The UFU has always held the view that the removal and eradication of TB from the countryside can only be achieved by addressing the problem in both cattle and wildlife.  Farmers in the selected area, which covers 100km2 between Banbridge and Rathfriland should have already received letters from DARD seeking agreement for AFBI staff to carry out the sett survey work on their land.  It is vital that the permission slips attached to these letters are signed and returned as quickly as possible.  AFBI cannot begin sett surveying until permission has been given by the farmer and now that we have seen some action from DARD it is imperative to keep the momentum going.”

Oisin Murnion, NBA continued; “The proposed trial is an exciting and constructive development, but to have a maximum chance of success the project needs to have support of as many farmers as possible within the selected area, I would strongly encourage all farmers in this area to give their support and co-operation to DARD on this matter.” 

Sean Fitzpatrick, NIAPA concluded; “TB has blighted the economics and well-being of our cattle industry for decades.  It has taken a long time to reach this stage in our battle to eradicate bovine TB in Northern Ireland and now that we are seeing progress from DARD, it is vital that we see action on the ground as soon as possible.  However, this will only happen if farmers work with DARD and return their signed permission slips as soon as possible.”   

The TB stakeholder group have played a key role to allow the project to reach this stage and are totally committed to achieving the eradication of TB in Northern Ireland.