The brunt of efforts to eradicate bovine TB has been borne by the farmers affected by the eradication programme, the IFA animal health chair TJ Maher has said.

Maher stated that successfully eradicating the disease within as short a period of time as possible should be the focus of the Department of Agriculture’s eradication efforts.

“The eradication of TB within the shortest feasible timeframes must be the objectives. As farmers, we have had to endure the burden of TB controls, associated costs and income loss for too long.

“However, achieving this must not be based on the simplistic approach of tightening controls on farms and increasing the cost burden on farmers,” he said.

Maher’s comments come as he is due to address the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday evening on bovine TB eradication.

Wildlife Control Programme

The IFA will also seek a doubling of the staffing allocation of the TB Wildlife Control Programme when addressing the TDs and Senators.

According to Maher, the programme is the most useful instrument available to the Department to control bovine TB.

“The most effective tool we have at our disposal to reduce the levels of TB and ultimately achieve eradication is the Wildlife Control Programme.

“This programme has been severely hampered in the past due to the lack of resources provided for it.

“If we are serious about eradicating TB, it’s critical the additional funding provided in the budget of over €1m is fully utilised in addressing the staffing shortages in the Wildlife Control Programme, the IFA are seeking a doubling of the existing staff resources,” he said.