The 11th meeting of the TB Forum was held yesterday (May 26), attended by a range of stakeholder groups and it was highlighted at the meeting that the new inconclusive policy was proving successful.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said there was active engagement by stakeholders on the many challenges posed by tuberculosis (TB).

The department added that the forum recognised the seriousness of the current TB situation and the need to take action to reduce disease levels and protect family farms from the stress of TB breakdowns.

TB Forum working group updates

The forum received updates on the three working groups established under the new TB Strategy (Implementation Working Group, Financial Working Group, Scientific Working Group), and the efforts of these groups was recognised.

The success of the new inconclusive policy was highlighted with many high-risk inconclusive cattle now being identified as infected much more quickly by blood sampling and, if positive, removal as reactors.

By doing this, it is protecting other cattle in their herds and reducing the risk to the farmer of having to deal with further TB spread.

According to the DAFM, this was recognised as a positive example of the impact of the new policies set out in the TB Strategy, supported by the TB Forum.

The forum also discussed the need for a renewed focus on communicating about TB risk and ways for farmers to protect their cattle.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue stated (from Brussels where he is attending Common Agricultural Policy – CAP – negotiations): “Bovine TB places a huge stress on farmers and their families, so I welcome the ongoing work of the TB Forum in discussing ways in which we can further reduce TB levels and protect cattle and herdowners.

“The positive impact we are already seeing from the new inconclusive policy is an illustration of the benefits of working together in partnership to implement the new TB strategy.”