Calls for new Border TB pilot project
THE high incidence of TB and brucellosis in cattle herds in Armagh and Tyrone has sparked calls for a pilot testing scheme in the Republic's Border region.
Recent figures show that more livestock herds in the South Armagh and Tyrone region are now hit by TB and brucellosi than elsewhere in the North.
The disclosure has led to calls by farming organisations in Cavan and Monaghan for Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith to undertake an urgent review of the situation.
Cavan-Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Conlon has called on Mr Smith to consider the adoption of a pilot herd-testing scheme similar to that which has been introduced in disease flashpoint areas in Britain.
The British pilot scheme provides for a single blood-test visit by a veterinary officer for bovine TB, unlike the Irish test procedure which involves injecting the livestock one day, and then reading the result three days later.
"This test also involves just one visit and the outcome of the UK trials to date indicate a reliability rate of 99.8pc, which is far higher than the current system here," Deputy Conlon said.
"This pilot scheme is being tried in Britain at the moment and I would like to see a similar scheme launched in counties Cavan and Monaghan, even on a cross-border basis," the TD added.
Deputy Conlon said the incidence of bovine TB remained "quite high" in the Cavan- Monaghan region compared to the rest of the Republic.
However, in the light of the seriously high level of the disease threat in the North, she urged Mr Smith, and the Department of Agriculture, to investigate the possible use of the new TB test.
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