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Independent.ie

Monday 11 December 2017

Macra backs deer fence plan to curb TB

The Department is also expected to introduce fencing to control deer in Wicklow.
The Department is also expected to introduce fencing to control deer in Wicklow.

Farming Independent team

Proposals to commission a pilot deer fencing project in Wicklow to reduce the incidence of TB in the county have been welcomed by Macra na Feirme.

Department of Agriculture secretary general Aidan O'Driscoll told a Joint Oireachtas for Agriculture hearing that a fencing was being considered as a possible solution.

Macra welcomed the Department's move. The idea of using fencing as a viable means of controlling the deer population in the county was put forward by Macra in the recent submission to the Department's National Farmed Animal Health Strategy.

"Farmers in Wicklow are finding themselves in a constant battle with TB. The Department is showing commitment to tackling the problem and is taking a step in the right direction through the proposed deer-fencing pilot project," said Macra president Seán Finan.

Macra's submission to the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy recommended the inclusion of wildlife fencing to TAMS, as an effective means of excluding the animals.

If the pilot project proves successful in decreasing TB in the Wicklow area, Macra has pledged to campaign to have wildlife fencing included under TAMS in areas with similar problems.

The young farmers organisation has also called for TAMS funding to be made available to all farmers for bio security measures, such as isolation boxes.

"It is hoped the higher rate of funding for infrastructure like this will benefit the sector as whole by increasing the uptake of these structures on farm and decreasing the spread of disease from farm to farm," Mr Finan said. "While farmers unquestionably have responsibility for their animal's health, under certain circumstances animal health can be out of the control of the farmer.

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"In these circumstances, it is crucial the Department of Agriculture step in and support farmers,"added Mr Finan.

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