I hear farmers in the Wicklow mountains may be getting their cattle vaccinated for TB.

The traditional breeds were introduced as part of the Sustainable Uplands Agri-environment Scheme (SUAS) for grazing management, with positive results seen so far. However, proximity to the growing deer population has now put the cattle in danger of contracting TB.

A vaccine is being developed for the disease in the UK, with the not insignificant catch being that it’s still not possible to distinguish between vaccinated animals and those who’ve actually contracted TB.

The solution touted for the Wicklow farmers is to have their herds vaccinated but that the cattle would then not be allowed to enter the food chain. Cattle for grazing not beef – a very left of field solution indeed.