‘Greater efforts’ required to eradicate TB by 2030

Despite significant progress in recent years, greater efforts will be required to eradicate bovine TB by 2030, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister was speaking in the wake of the first meeting of the TB Stakeholder Forum, which took place on Wednesday, September 5.

The forum is chaired by Michael Cronin, who previously served as the CEO of Newmarket Co-op and the chair of the Irish Dairy Board. As well as this, Cronin was a board member of Bord Bia and chair of its Quality Assurance Board.

According to the department, the TB Stakeholder Forum represents a “prime example of a new approach to animal health initiatives, which reflect the principles outlined in the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy”.

These principles are:
  • Working in partnership;
  • Acknowledging roles and responsibilities;
  • Reflecting costs and benefits;
  • Applying the principle that prevention is better than cure.

The forum is made up of representatives from the department; farm organisations; veterinary profession; agri-food industry; and the farming and research communities.

Reflecting on the first meeting of the forum, Minister Creed said: “The Bovine TB Eradication Programme is an example of a shared animal health programme where progress and improvement is to the benefit of all related stakeholders.

“Thanks to the efforts of all stakeholders, bovine TB levels have reduced significantly in recent years. While herd incidence stood at 8% in 2000, it was under 3.5% in 2017. This represents considerable progress.

“In the absence of a robust TB eradication programme, many more farmers would have suffered a TB breakdown and the associated significant mental and financial stress.

While much progress has been made in reducing bovine TB levels, I believe greater efforts are required to achieve eradication by 2030.

“In this respect, I welcome the commitment of all forum members to work together in drafting proposals that can achieve this ambition to the benefit of all stakeholders. I look forward to closely considering these proposals in due course,” the minister said.

People who wish to contact the forum can email: [email protected].