ICMSA welcomes new bovine TB eradication strategy

The deputy president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) Lorcan McCabe has welcomed the newly-published bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication strategy.

He confirmed that his organisation had worked collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) officials and other stakeholders to get to this point.

However, McCabe also noted that the real work starts from here and is going to involve hard decisions in the next number of years to deal decisively with the disease and alleviate the real hardship inflicted on farm families unfortunate enough to experience an outbreak of bovine TB.

 “Bovine TB numbers are increasing and ICMSA maintains that a different approach is needed. We think there has to be a more proactive approach to implementing the newly-published strategy and it’s important to be upfront and say that there will be farmers who will face further restrictions and disappointments under the new strategy,” McCabe said.

But if it moves us closer to finally eradicating this scourge of a disease, then we think it’s worth it.

Communication is key

“As ever, communication with newly-affected farmers and those who are in high recurrence areas is key and we’ll be insisting that the DAFM lives up to the commitments made in the published strategy,” McCabe continued.

“ICMSA knows that initiatives such as tailored bovine TB risk management plans for herds with a high risk of recurrence and the pre-movement test where cattle moving out of higher risk herds will be required to have a test in the 30 days preceding the movement, will be a strain on farmers.

“But the blunt truth is that we need to ramp-up the current initiatives because they are not eliminating the disease within the timeframe originally set out. It is obviously essential that appropriate financial supports are in place for the farmers impacted by these measures.

“It’s also obvious that the proposals dealing with wildlife will have to be resourced and followed-through with more energy than has been the case so far.”

According to McCabe, the newly formed implementation group, financial group, and technical working group, will now need to implement this strategy and added that the ICMSA is going to be watching progress very carefully.

“ICMSA thinks this represents a real opportunity; if resourced and implemented with energy and commitment; to eliminate bovine TB from our country for good,” he concluded.