Ireland outperforms UK in tackling bovine TB

The minister for agriculture in Ireland has claimed its badger cull had been a “huge success” and said Ireland was tackling bovine TB better than the UK. 

Simon Coveney was speaking after being challenged by independent member Maureen O’Sullivan in the Irish parliament, the Dáil Éireann, who described the cull as “horrific”.

According to reports in the Irish press, Coveney pointed to the success of the scheme in reducing bovine TB, which has fallen 40% since 2008.

“It is particularly interesting that the incidence of TB in Northern Ireland, where badger removal is not prioritised, is approximately twice as high as on this side of the border,” he said.

“The UK has not had success in reducing the incidence of bovine TB. I suggest this is partly because it has not been able to take the same approach towards a targeted culling programme where it is aware of a localised bovine TB problem and outbreak.”

Addressing O’Sullivan’s concerns, Coveney said: “What is humane for me is to get TB out of the herd, which is what we are trying to do, and out of the badger population too. In that way, we will not have to target cattle and badgers.”

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