The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, T.D. has announced broad stakeholder agreement on the new bovine TB eradication strategy. This marks an important step in building on our collective efforts to reduce TB levels to the benefit of Irish farmers.
In welcoming the agreement of all stakeholders to move forward, the Minister McConalogue stated, “The bovine TB eradication Programme is an example of a shared animal health programme to the benefit of all related stakeholders. Thanks to the efforts of all stakeholders, we now have an agreed road-map to eradication which should see bovine TB levels reduced significantly in coming years. While bovine TB disease is low relative to historical levels, TB herd incidence and reactor numbers have been gradually increasing.
The pace of deterioration has accelerated in 2020. Herd incidence at 4.35% is now at its highest level since 2012 while reactor numbers at 22,700 are back at 2009 rates. Relative to 2019, an additional 13 herds per week experienced a TB restriction in 2020. This clearly highlights the urgency with which we must act. It is imperative that all stakeholders work together in reducing TB rates to support and protect farm families and I look forward to ongoing positive engagement from all stakeholders in implementing this new bovine TB eradication strategy.”
The Minister thanked Mr Michael Cronin who chaired the Bovine TB stakeholder Forum, under whose guidance this strategy has been developed. The Forum represents a prime example of the approach to animal health initiatives which reflect the overarching principles outlined in the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy. The new TB strategy is informed by the recommendations made by the TB Forum, illustrating the vital role of stakeholder involvement in considering how best to reduce bovine TB levels. The policies that will deliver on the ambition to reduce disease transmission and decisions on how the Programme is financed will be subject to detailed consultation with stakeholders on an ongoing basis with key input from farm organisations.
Minister McConalogue said that the various groups involved the strategy will be convened early in the new year to commence work on the strategy.