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22/09/2017

UFU Hits Out At DAERA Over Plans To Survey Badgers For TB

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has hit out after the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced plans to survey badgers for TB.

UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said that farmers are facing a rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground and recognise the need for immediate action.

He said: "However, the introduction of more on farm controls does not go far enough to tackle the real underlying problem. Only 0.84% of cattle in Northern Ireland have TB, compared to 17% of badgers. It should not come as a surprise that farmers are pressing for more wildlife intervention."

DAERA plans to survey badgers for TB and remove infected animals in two areas in Northern Ireland, which Mr Chestnutt said is a small step.
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He continued: "Farmers are unlikely to be satisfied by this given the current scale of the problem. They are frustrated by the lack of progress and with a TB program that appears to be addressing only one side of the problem."

The UFU was not consulted on the additional measures prior to DAERA's announcement.

Mr Chestnutt said: "There have been a number of occasions in the last year where important decisions have been made without consultation with industry. It is concerning and underlines the important role our elected officials play.

"As the old saying goes – the proof will be in the pudding. TB is rampant in the countryside at the moment and many farmers are at their wits end. Something needs to be done. While we would like to see swifter, more meaningful action on wildlife, the additional measures announced by DAERA are a start."

(CD/JP)

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