Mapping of badger setts ‘a positive move in addressing main driver of TB’

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s request for information on the location of badger setts is “a positive move in addressing the main driver of TB in this country”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The organisation said it had sought a detailed survey of the entire country to ensure all setts are mapped to allow for an effective Wildlife Control Programme.

Reacting to the department’s advice and request for information on setts, IFA Animal Health Committee chairman Pat Farrell urged farmers to ensure all setts on their lands are notified to the local department office through the numbers provided for each county in the text messages that will issue.

Farmers will not be found wanting in supporting the department in ensuring all setts are mapped – but this alone will not eradicate TB.

“The department must have the resources in place to carry out efficient captures of all of these setts,” he said.

Farrell said effectively addressing the TB issue in wildlife is vital to reduce the levels in cattle and the programme must also include proactively reducing densities of susceptible wildlife in advance of major infrastructural works to stop the spread of the disease.

In addition, the ever-increasing deer population must be brought under control to remove this route of disease spread to cattle, he added.

The chairman said an enhanced and effective wildlife control programme is a key component of the TB programme, but additional work is needed in on-farm investigations and in the financial supports for farmers whose farms are under TB controls.

Farrell said his organisation is awaiting the draft TB strategy which is to be issued to the TB Forum stakeholders in order to commence direct discussions with the Department of Agriculture on a TB programme that will achieve eradication and reduce the cost burden on farms.