The Department of Agriculture tested 87 deer in regional veterinary laboratories (RVLs) for TB in 2020 and three tested positive for the disease, senior superintending veterinary inspector with the Department of Agriculture Eoin Ryan has said.

He told the Oireachtas committee on agriculture on Tuesday night that where there are local concerns about deer transmitting TB to cattle, the Department is happy to test those deer for free for TB.

“These aren’t random deer. These are deer that are specifically shot where farmers have a concern in that area that these deer are transmitting TB to cattle.

“In 2020 we had 87 deer submitted, so less deer submitted possibly due to COVID-19 [compared to 2020], but again, these are deer submitted specifically from areas where there was concerns that deer could be transmitting TB, and only three were positive,” he said.


“In 2020 we had 40 deer submitted just from Offaly alone. I think there was quite a bit of concern in the Birr Castle area that deer could be responsible for TB outbreaks there.

“Forty deer were submitted. None of those 40 deer had TB, but we’re happy to continue with that because there’s no doubt deer do get infected they can get infected with bovine TB and deer that are infected with bovine TB can infect cattle. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.

He said in 2019 the Department tested 233 deer submitted to the RVLs and two were positive for TB.

In Kerry in 2019 there were 120 deer tested for TB and none of those tested positive, he said.