"It's essential to have specifically accurate regional data available on the incidence of TB reactors to ensure their timely removal,", that was the message of ICOS Livestock and Environmental Services Executive, Ray Doyle, at the Farmers Charter Meeting in Portlaoise today, December 6th.
At today’s meeting, Ray Doyle of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society Ltd (ICOS) asked representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for figures regarding the removal times for TB reactor animals. The Department provided figures indicating that 56% of positive reactors are removed within 0-5 days; 35% in 6-10 days; 5% in 11-15 days; 2% in 16-20 days and 2% in more than 21 days.
Ray Doyle noted that although the figures given were impressive on a national level, there were only averages. He called for the introduction of regional data, which he says would be more accurate and help improve areas where removal times are longer.
"While these figures seem impressive at a national level they are averages only and significant variations could exist regionally. We need to have accurate regional data so that we can use this to target and improve areas where there may be significantly longer removal times.” Doyle said.
“It's imperative that TB positive animals are removed immediately to ensure maximum thoroughness in preventing the further spread of Bovine TB.” He continued.
Mr Doyle then praised the Department for their approach and investments made so far.
“Rapid action across all regions and a more concerted approach by everyone in the chain of reaction will provide a quick win for the Department in relation to its goals for TB eradication.” He said.
“The Department must also be complimented for its commitment, comprehensive approach and investments made to date," said Ray Doyle.
TB in Ireland -
Ireland’s Bovine TB (bTB) Eradication Scheme started in 1954.
At that point, approximately 80% of cattle herds in Ireland (herd prevalence1) and 17% of the approximately 4.5m cattle (22% of cows) in the country were infected with bovine TB. This compared to 2017, where 4.89% of cattle herds in Ireland (herd prevalence) were infected with bovine TB, a decrease of over 75%.
In 2017, the bTB Eradication Programme had cost €84 million to date, with €42m contributed by The Exchequer and EU co-funding of €10m. The remaining €32million was paid for by farmers, through the cost of annual herd tests and disease levies.
Minister Creed has stated his desire to have Bovine TB completely eradicated under the programme by the year 2030, by which time a further €1 billion euro will have been spent.