Northern Ireland Study Into TB In Cattle

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew has announced that a study into the spread of TB in cattle will start soon in County Down.
calendar icon 1 September 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Minister Gildernew said: “This TB Biosecurity Study is important and I encourage the support of those farmers who are selected to participate in this valuable research. Their help is vital if we are to get a better understanding of the factors that influence the transmission of bovine TB here. Indeed, the Study can not proceed without the help of those farmers.”

The Minister explained that up to 350 County Down farmers will shortly be invited by DARD’s Chief Veterinary Officer to participate in this important Study, which will be carried out by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The Minister said: “The key aim of the TB Biosecurity Study is to compare farm characteristics in both herds that have recently had a TB breakdown and those that have had no recent history of a breakdown in a TB high incidence area, which is why the Study will focus on County Down.

“Consideration of selected cattle and wildlife factors will be key elements of the research. The Study findings will be used to identify significant risk factors and should contribute to the development of best practice and biosecurity advice that can be rolled out to all herdkeepers to help reduce the level of bovine TB here.”

The Minister added: “I welcome the support of farming and veterinary representative bodies as well as wider stakeholders for the TB Biosecurity Study. It is a good example of real partnership between government and industry working together effectively.”

The Minister welcomed the support of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the NI Agricultural Producers’ Association, the National Beef Association and the Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in NI.

Minister Gildernew added: “Farmers who take part in the TB Biosecurity Study are being asked for some of their time and for their insight and experience. They will not be asked to fill in any questionnaires – the AFBI researcher will do any written work in recording answers to a questionnaire.

“Input provided by farmers will be held in strict confidence. The questions will be about the farm business as well as about evidence of badger presence and activity both on their land and around their farm buildings. A survey of on-farm buildings and a farm boundary survey will also be carried out by the AFBI researcher in agreement with the farmer. In addition, there will be some badger sett survey work on and around participating farms”.

In conclusion the Minister said: “It should be clearly understood that no direct intervention with badgers is planned to take place during this TB Biosecurity Study. This has been clearly explained to all industry stakeholders, including those representing environmental interests.”

It is anticipated that the survey fieldwork will be carried out from October 2010 to the end of March 2011.

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