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Ulster FU Backs TB Clampdown bid

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4th June 2003 - By David McCoy

A SERIES of recommendations regarding the control of TB in cattle to the British Government from the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales were endorsed yesterday by the Ulster Farmers' Union.

The Action Plan was announced this week on the back of an industry conference in March in which the UFU took part in.

Other participants included the British Veterinary Association and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The UFU has copied the industry recommendations to the Northern Ireland chief veterinary officer to future highlight the concerns about the problems being caused by the disease.

The NFU warned the Government that it must take advantage of the current determination to tackle TB in the country's cattle and wildlife populations or face the consequence of the disease gaining an even stronger hold.

Finding a vaccine to beat the disease was stated as being the primary goal, but the plan goes on to outline the need for other measures to ease the hardship of cattle farmers whose herds became infected.


The recommendations include:

  • Reactor animals need to be removed from farms immediately, and certainly within a target of 7 days
  • Rapid improvements must be made in the TB administration system to remove error and delays
  • Improved diagnostic tests are essential in the control of bovine TB. Further research is needed without delay to improve the sensitivity of the skin test and the specificity of the gamma interferon test
  • A Welfare Slaughter scheme should be introduced to alleviate welfare problems arising from TB restrictions prohibiting cattle movements
  • Addressing the reservoir of infection in the wildlife population.

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