Following a meeting with senior Department of Agriculture officials, IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has welcomed the commencement of a detailed study to verify the actual levels of TB in wild deer by the Department.
The IFA Chairman 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. He said this study must determine 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.
Bert Stewart said, “It has to be more than a coincidence that the county that has made the least progress in reducing the incidence of TB is also the most populated with deer. In this regard, it is appropriate the study is being carried out in an area of Wicklow that is experiencing severe problems with TB in cattle”.
IFA Wicklow Chairman Tom Short said the study which is due to commence this week is a first step in dealing with an issue that has for a long number of years been a major concern for farmers in Wicklow.
He said the study will evaluate the TB levels in 100 deer removed from the broader Calry area over the coming weeks. It will include both visual analysis and culturing of samples by the Department of Agriculture in its laboratory in Backweston.
Tom Short said following compilation of all of the results and strain typing of the disease found, IFA will be meeting senior Department Officials to develop a strategy as to how best to deal with the issue: “While we understand the complexity of the task at hand, time is not on our side and the Department of Agriculture must complete the study in the shortest timeframe possible.”