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O’Neill announces badger sett survey in Banbridge/Rathfriland area

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today said that the eradication of TB in cattle is a key priority.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Minister was updating the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on preparations for the proposed “test and vaccinate or remove (TVR)” wildlife intervention research, which would involve testing live badgers; vaccinating and releasing the test negative badgers; and removing the test positive ones.

The Minister said: “I wish to commence preliminary badger sett survey work as soon as possible. I have agreed that AFBI should start the sett survey in a 100km² areabetween Banbridge and Rathfriland as soon as permissions from local farmers are obtained.

“I am encouraged that the balanced TVR approach has been welcomed by a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”

The Minister added: “I believe that it is important that we regularly take stock of the TB position in the north and refocus our efforts to make further progress and the committee’s recently published Review into Bovine TB Report provides an opportunity to do this. I share the widely held aspiration to achieve a progressive reduction in disease levels towards the ultimate eradication of TB here.”

Minister O’Neill concluded: “In addressing the TB problem clearly more needs to be done, but we must take care that that any additional control measures we take areproportionate, practical and cost effective and are likely to help to reduce the disease. I expect to see further proposals for a range of possible new measuresdeveloped for discussion with key stakeholders over the coming months.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Terms of Reference of the ARD Committee Review were “To explore all measures, including broad consideration of likely cost/benefit that could be taken in the north towards the reduction and eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis based on international and local experiences.”
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