'Worst outbreak in living memory' - Cattle herds locked up as TB outbreak hits peninsula
At least 45 cattle herds have been locked up following numerous positive tests for tuberculosis.
Farmers on the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry say it is the worst outbreak in living memory. In 2017, there were 75 herds restricted in the peninsula, with a further 36 restricted because of issues on neighbouring farms.
Patrick O'Driscoll, chairman of the Irish Farmers Association South Kerry branch, called a meeting yesterday as the scale of the outbreak became clear.
Mr O'Driscoll, who lives on Valentia Island, said that more than 100 farmers had attended the meeting and were looking for a vaccination programme to be rolled out in the area.
He said: "We're not used to TB down in the peninsula, you'd have the odd reactor, but in 2016 we saw increased numbers and in 2017 there were over 302 reactors in 45 herds.
"We're expecting to find more, it's a moving figure."
Up to 200 farmers attended an @IFAmedia today in #Caherciveen to discuss a serious outbreak of #TB in the Iveragh Peninsula in the past 18 months. We are hearing from those who attended now on the show... pic.twitter.com/3gUrzxCRco— AgritimeRK (@AgritimeRK) January 18, 2018
Mr O'Driscoll said the area affected is approximately a 56-square-kilometre block from Kells to Caherdaniel, where many farms are fragmented. This means farmers have to frequently move cattle, which can lead to TB spreading between herds. Farmers are being advised to work with the Department of Agriculture and Food (DFA) officials by looking for badger setts on their land but to not disturb them, as the department will inspect for badger activity.
He also said that the group was hoping a new vaccination programme for badgers could be brought into the area.