USPCA Statement on Eradication of Bovine TB

In response to DAERA’s announcement of the targeted testing of badgers in two areas experiencing a significant increase in the occurrence of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), the USPCA would like to make the following observations.

The regional increases noted in the incidence of bTB are a concern to the USPCA. This transmissible disease is found in cattle, deer and in badgers. It causes needless suffering and it is in all our interests and that of our animals to control its spread.

The recently announced DAERA Trap, Vaccinate and Release programme in affected areas is an interim measure and should yield meaningful results for stakeholders.

The Department’s working group on the issue published its report in December 2016 outlining a balanced and multi-faceted strategy designed to eradicate the disease. This eradication strategy takes a wider view of the means of transmission, identifies a number of contributory factors, and suggests how these shortcomings can be addressed in a cohesive way.   It is now September 2017 and despite requests for clarification, there remains a lack of clarity as to whether this strategy will be implemented in the absence of a Minister responsible.

With safeguards against abuse, the USPCA welcomes the eradication strategy proposed by the Department’s working group as a means to rid our countryside from the animal welfare concerns endemic in bTB and would urge the Department to move forward with implementation and avoid the need for ad hoc initiatives such as that announced recently.