IFA Animal Health Chair TJ Maher said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s commitment to re-establish the National Deer Management Forum Group is a positive first step to controlling that national deer population to a sustainable level.
He said “the control of deer nationally requires a co-ordinated approach, which must include a focus on addressing the deer population surrounding TB outbreaks”.
“The TB Implementation Group must be given the opportunity to feed into the terms of reference for the re-established deer management group to ensure it delivers on two key objectives: a comprehensive management programme to reduce the numbers of deer in areas when associated with TB outbreaks; and a national management programme to reduce the levels to deer to numbers that are sustainable within their natural habitat throughout the country,” he said.
The Animal Heath Chair said the deer population is causing crop and fencing damage; spread of disease; and road safety concerns across the country. Once re-established, the group must move quickly to address these issues.
“The Northern Ireland open season for most species of deer is longer than ours. This is an example of an area that will need to be addressed by the Deer Management Group when the terms of reference are agreed,” he said.
“It’s important that the terms of reference are agreed as soon as possible and a chairperson with the competencies to deal with this complex issue is put in place to ensure the group gets up and running without delay”.