No plans afoot to introduce two annual TB tests – Minister Creed

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has said he has no plans to introduce two annual TB tests for cattle.

The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Clare TD Michael Harty this week when he made the announcement.

He said that the incidence of TB in the country has fallen from 5.9% in 2008 to 3.4% in 2015, the lowest level on record since the programme commenced in the mid 1950’s.

“In view of this very considerable progress in reducing the incidence of the TB, my Department believes that complete eradication of the disease by 2030 is now a practicable proposition.

“However, notwithstanding the success of the current range of measures in the programme, the programme is not static and has and will continue to be reviewed and revised in light of developments in the disease situation, improvements in scientific knowledge etc,” he said.

The Bovine TB Eradication Programme as implemented by the Department includes a range of measures.

The Minister said that such measures include:

  • Annual testing of all herds in the country.
  • Testing of herds contiguous to TB breakdowns.
  • Blood testing of certain animals.
  • The restriction of herds which have experienced a breakdown.
  • Removal of sources of infection in wildlife.

Last month, Dr. Margaret Good, Senior Superintending Veterinary Inspector at Department Of Agriculture, said that eradicating TB by 2030 poses ‘a challenge’.

Speaking to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture she said that the Department might look at two annual tests in the future.

Bringing in two annual tests would only take place in areas where there are high incidences of the disease, she said, but the Department has made no decisions on this or any other additional steps to eradicate the disease yet.

Meanwhile, figures obtained by Agriland earlier this year showed that over 14,000 Irish cattle reacted positively to TB tests carried out on farms between January and October of this year.

Herd incidence of TB nationally currently stands at 3.12%, according to the figures.