Poots Decides On Wildlife Intervention To Tackle Bovine TB

DAERA Minister confirms wildlife intervention to tackle bTB says UFU

DAERA Minister confirms wildlife intervention to tackle bTB says UFU

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) welcomes the announcement made by Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minster Edwin Poots MLA at Stormont this morning, regarding the bTB eradication strategy for Northern Ireland (NI).

New measures to tackle the disease include gamma blood testing and much needed wildlife intervention.

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said: “Unfortunately, we have reached a stage where bTB has become such a plague in NI that the only option we have to eradicate the disease is to implement wildlife intervention.

“The DAERA Minister has made the right decision to follow through with a strategy that includes tackling bTB in all its hosts. It will go a long way in helping us to get rid of bTb once and for all.

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has given the green light for wildlife intervention in the fight against bovine TB. Are badgers in the firing line?

“We continue to speak to many farmers daily who have been affected by bTB recently, and have done so over the years. It is an extremely painful experience to learn of that heartbreak from a fellow member of the farming community and to witness the devastation it has caused them and their family.

“Farmers cannot stand any further delays in tackling the disease even with the extra cost that it may bring. Their backs are against the wall. To protect their cattle and livelihoods, they simply want an end to it.”

The UFU recently travelled to England to observe the wildlife intervention programme they have in place. Each area that was visited, showed reductions in bTB as well as increased biodiversity.

“Tackling bTB in all of its hosts will have huge benefits for the environment and other wildlife. When the disease is controlled appropriately, not only are cattle less stressed, but farmers have witnessed the presence of nesting birds, bumblebees, brown hares and hedgehogs,” said Mr Chestnutt.

The UFU has welcomed the decision by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots to introduce wildlife interventions to help eradicate bovine TB. (Photo of dairy cattle by Jim Masson).

The DAERA Minister also confirmed that two years after the implementation of the full bTB strategy, he will review the possible introduction of a cap on individual payments and stock valuation reductions on the payment farmers receive for each cow.

“For now, the Minister will not implement stock valuation reductions and the UFU’s position has not changed on this – we strongly do not support any livestock valuation reductions of any kind.

“The next steps we want to see going forward is the Minister’s department progressing with the necessary work that is required to ensure the measures are put in place urgently.

“Farmers have waited long enough for this plague to be eradicated and it is absolutely critical that we get things moving now,” said Mr Chestnutt.