TB outbreak spiralling out of control warns IFA
Farmers in Monaghan 'living in fear' as rate of infection in county now double the national average
A major TB outbreak in Monaghan is threatening to spiral out of control, farmer leaders in the county have warned.
The Department of Agriculture has written to herd owners in the county this week and confirmed that the rate of TB herd infection and number of reactor animals locally is multiple times the national average.
Farmers fear a raft of further herd depopulations will be ordered as part of the Department of Agriculture drive to bring the outbreak under control.
In addition, hundreds of more herds will have animal movement restrictions imposed in order to limit the spread of the disease.
Frank Brady of Monaghan IFA said farmers in the county were "living in fear" as a result of the widespread restrictions and herd depopulations.
"An improved hardship fund has to be provided for any farmer losing his livelihood," Mr Brady said. "I fear there is going to be a lot more depopulations because the spread is out of control - it is a very lonely place for herd owners to be.
"The Department officials are doing their best but they are going to have to tackle the source and I believe that badgers and deer are going to have to be looked at to see what can be done," he added.
"For a county that has gone from being one of the lowest (for TB infection) to the worst in two years, there has to be a reason and we have to get serious about the source of the infection - farmers' livelihoods are at stake and the cause has to be tackled," Mr Brady said.