Last year has seen a reduction in the number of reactors and TB incidence in Ireland, according to provisional end-of-year figures for 2013.

The statistics show a herd incidence rate of 3.85 per cent for 2013, from 113,496 herds tested in 2013. In terms of reactors the statistics show a reduction in reactors for 2013, from 18,430 in 2012 to 15,618 in this year. This represents a fall in reactors of 2,812 compared to 2012.

Broken down the figures show that counties with the highest incidence include Wexford at eight per cent, Wicklow East at eight per cent, Wicklow west seven per cent and Meath at six per cent.

Responding to the provisional results, deputy president of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack, welcomed the overall reduction in the number of reactor animals and TB incidence and acknowledged the statistics were a “step in the right direction”.
McCormack said the only cause for concern is the variance in the statistics on a county-by-county basis and the danger that certain areas in the country have higher rates of TB.

“Our members in Wexford and Wicklow feel very strongly that there is a wild deer issue and cross-contamination is happening to their herds. The wild deer herds are moving onto their lands. There has been a significant increase in these herds and we are calling for a cull.  This is an ongoing issue.

“The farmers in these areas want to see the TB problem addressed as a matter of priority and the department must devote more resources to assist individual farmers in those areas badly affected by a TB outbreak. The department must commit itself to proactively seeking to drive the eradication programme onwards and budget the resources that will solve the problem while allowing farmers to farm as normal as possible in the event of a TB outbreak,” he added.

In relation to the new restrictions imposed by the Department on movements, McCormack said these restrictions will pose serious problems for individual farmers and he called on the department to review its proposals with a view to minimising the impact on individual farmers.