Department Action Needed Following Study of Tb Levels in Deer

Following a meeting between IFA and Department of Agriculture officials in Portlaoise today (Friday), IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the high levels of TB in wild deer that have been confirmed following a recent study requires immediate and targeted action by the Department of Agriculture.

Bert Stewart said the study sought by IFA and carried out by the Department over the past four months shows levels of TB in deer at 16%. “Farmers have long argued that the control of the deer population is an important element in the eradication of the TB disease. The evidence from this study shows the level of TB in deer is a significantly higher multiple than in cattle and justifies the implementation of a programme similar to the existing Wildlife Control programme.”

He said, “Farmers in areas throughout the country have real concerns in relation to the role wild deer encroaching onto their land is having in prolonging TB episodes and contributing to new outbreaks. This study confirms both the incidence of TB in deer and the risk they are posing to the health status of the cattle in the farms they are encroaching onto.”

The IFA Animal Health Chairman said the findings highlight the urgent need for the Department to put in place structures that reduce the number of deer surrounding TB outbreaks in order to protect the health and welfare of our national cattle herd and farmers’ incomes. This must have the full co-operation of Coillte and NPWS if it is to be effective.

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