DUP EFRA Spokesperson Carla Lockhart has said the increased prevalence of TB in badgers is further evidence that action must be taken that reduces the disease, and to protect cattle across Northern Ireland.
Carla Lockhart said:
“The positive rate for TB in badgers tested has jumped from 16% in 2021 to 27% for 2022. That is a significant rise, and whilst it will not be a surprise to farmers, it will cause significant concern that the disease continues to spread and pose increased dangers to cattle.
We are all too aware of the devastating impact of TB on local farms. Entire herds wiped out, with decades of work in term of genetics ended with the cull of a herd and a brutal end to a lifetime of work. You simply cannot compensate for the impact this deadly disease has on farm families.
This sharp increase in TB rate shows the urgency in addressing the source of the spread of TB within wildlife. Whilst Agriculture Minister, my colleague Edwin Poots MLA decided upon a limited badger cull. We need to be continually assessing the best approach to reducing the spread of TB. All options need to be on the table.
Our local farming community live in dread of TB striking their herd. We need to take notice of these statistics and see action. If we do not, the prevalence will only increase, and along with that the devastation on farms will increase too.”