Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 18 November 2017

See which counties have highest TB rates so far in 2017

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Wicklow West continues to have the highest rates of TB, significantly above those in other parts of the country, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

The area had a TB incidence rate of over 6.1pc per 1000 tests through the first quarter of 2017 some three times higher than the national average of 1.6pc over the period.

Professional hunters should be brought in to cull between 17,000 and 50,000 deer in Wicklow, a major research project has found.

The study claimed that deer numbers in the area were too high for recreational hunters to significantly reduce the population.

The interim report, which was drawn up for the Manor Kilbride Deer Management Project following two years of a four-year study, proposed that professional hunters be employed to reduce the population to a sustainable level, at which point recreational hunters could then control numbers.

Deer have been widely blamed by farmers in Wicklow for spreading TB, and also for damaging forestry plantations and grazing crops and grassland.

Nationally TB rates are up marginally on 12 months ago with 2,800 reactor animals over the period compared to 2,500 in the first quarter of 2016.

Other counties with high TB rates included Dublin, Leitrim and North Tipperary with incidence rates above 2pc.

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New research has discovered a vaccine which prevents against TB in badgers under natural conditions.

It comes following a scientific research project which involved the administration of an oral vaccine to badgers, to investigate its impact against bovine tuberculosis in a large scale field trial in Co Kilkenny.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed of the results and said that the results of the trial were very positive in that they demonstrated that the oral vaccination of badgers has a significant protective effect in badgers under natural conditions.

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