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A CALL for immediate action to investigate a ‘recent rapid increase’ in the incidence of bovine TB in Northern Ireland has been made by the Northern Ireland Assembly's Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The committee made the call at the launch of a report of a review it had conducted on the bovine TB situation in Northern Ireland. As part of the review, a wide range of stakeholders gave evidence to the committee and it also undertook a fact-finding mission to England, visiting a range of experts and focusing on specific aspects of bovine TB control that were not being practised in Northern Ireland.
Launching the report, the committee's chairman, Paul Frew, commented: ‘As a committee, we are deeply concerned about the impact of this disease and in our report we are asking for more to be done so the disease is not able to take a firmer hold in Northern Ireland. The Department [of Agriculture and Rural Development] must ensure the problem does not increase any further. We need the department to take action and to find out why there has been a huge rise in bovine TB rates over the last 12 months – we must understand this disease in order to protect our cattle.’
In its report, the committee notes that, in recent years, there has been a ‘very welcomed downward trend’ in the rate of bovine TB infection; however, in the past 18 months ‘there has been a sharp and as yet unexplained and unprecedented increase’. It expresses concern that, unless this is tackled, bovine TB could …
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