The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) captured and vaccinated 7,837 badgers against bovine tuberculosis (TB) up until the end of November this year.

This is an increase on last year, when 7,244 were vaccinated and a further increase from 2021, when 6,586 badgers were captured and vaccinated.

The large scale rollout of badger vaccination commenced in late 2019. Every year more and more of the countryside is designated as vaccination zones.

The vaccination programme has been increasing the number captured each year since it began.

An initial figure of 1,937 badgers were vaccinated in 2019, and 4,698 in 2020.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said he is committed to reducing TB incidence rates across the country.

In 2021 the minister launched the TB Eradication Strategy (2021-2030), with all stakeholders working to reduce rates of the virus.

“There is a terrible financial and emotional pain associated with a TB breakdown.

“We must keep this going with the ultimate aim of eradicating TB from the herd,” Minister McConalogue said.


Mycobacterium bovis, which causes the infection of TB was first detected in badgers in Ireland in 1974. Its significance was not fully understood at that stage. 

A large scale trial over a five year period, from 1997 to 2002 in areas within counties Donegal, Monaghan, Kilkenny and Cork showed significant reductions in the incidence of TB in areas where badgers were removed relative to areas wherethey were not removed.

DAFM established a wildlife programme to cull and reduce the density of badgers in areas of high TB prevalence. 

The development and initiation of the vaccination programme has reduced, but not eliminated, the need to cull badgers.

Badger vaccination is now a big part of the Irish TB Eradication Programme.