IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the additional funding commitment in the Budget for the TB Eradication Programme, and in particular the €6m for the Wildlife Control Programme, are important commitments from the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.
IFA had sought a doubling of resources in the Wildlife Programme as a key component in reducing levels of TB in the national herd. This is where the focus of the Department of Agriculture must be.
“This additional funding must be utilised immediately to put boots on the ground to deal with the TB problems caused by wildlife on our farms,” he said.
The IFA Chairman also acknowledged the announcement to re-establish a Deer Management group to address the wide range of issues caused by the increasing deer population, including the TB threat.
“TB continues to be a huge cost and stress for farmers and their families and eradication of the disease in the shortest feasible time frame must be the objective,” he said.
In achieving this, he said measures must be scientifically based and practical to implement at farm level. Farmers have to supported through the huge imposition of herd restrictions where possible, and fully compensated for costs incurred and losses experienced where this is not provided.
Concluding, the IFA Chairman said the additional resources provided by the Minister are a significant first step in addressing TB levels. They must be fully utilised and built on to resolve the reservoir of TB in the wildlife population.