Almost 5,000 responses were received to a consultation on proposed cuts to compensation payments for TB reactor cattle.

Correspondence from DAERA states that 4,945 responses were submitted to the eight-week public consultation which opened in January 2024.

According to Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) President David Brown, the number of responses is the largest DAERA has ever received to a TB consultation proposal and “sends a strong message to the DAERA Minister on our farming families’ feelings on this subject”.

The consultation came about after NI Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris instructed DAERA to publish proposals for TB compensation to fall to 90% of each animal’s value in the 2024/25 financial year, before reducing to 75% thereafter.

However, that proposal has angered farmers. “DAERA can sustainability reduce the cost of the TB programme by tackling the disease, rather than devaluing cattle’s worth after the animals have fallen victim to a disease,” said Brown.

“The UFU remain determined to ensure none of the barbaric proposals come to pass and will continue to exhaust every avenue to safeguard the future of NI’s agri industry,” he added.

Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir has previously said that a decision on proposed cuts will be dependent on the budget that DAERA receives for the 2024/25 financial year.