Wild deer are 'out of control': ICMSA
Urgent Government action to cull 'out-of-control' wild deer has been demanded by the ICMSA, despite the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, claiming that badgers remain the key source of infection in TB blackspots.
While ICMSA president, John Comer insisted that the wild deer herd had reached 150,000hd, and were "out of control" in Wicklow, Kerry and Clare, Minister Coveney said that TB levels in badgers were still higher in Wicklow.
"My Department remains of the view that infection from wildlife, in particular badgers, remains a particular issue in the Wicklow area," he said in a Dail reply to Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle.
"A recent study conducted in the Callary area detected a TB culture confirmation rate in badgers of over 26pc, which compares with a national rate of 13.3pc.
The level of TB found in badgers was also considerably higher than that found in deer in that area, where 4.8pc of deer had visible lesions, with 15.5pc culturing positive for TB."
Wicklow has the highest levels of TB in the country, with many parts experiencing twice the national average levels of infection.
The Minister added that while the Department will continue to implement a badger removal programme in the county, responsibility for wild deer rested, under the Wildlife Acts, with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and that a non-statutory Irish Deer Management forum had been established.