26 May 2015 | Online since 2003



TB report shows complexity of disease, say vets


Veterinary associations have welcomed the Review into Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) by the Assembly’s Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Committee, and highlighted the importance of the role of veterinary surgeons in delivering an effective TB eradication strategy.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and its local division the North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) particularly welcomed:

The call for the Government to have a specific target to eradicate TB, rather than just controlling the disease.

The need to utilise the expertise of local veterinary practices in partnership with farmers.

The focus on improving communication to ensure the limitations of the testing regime are understood well enough to make risk-based decisions.

The need for DARD to carry out scoping work for the test, vaccinate or remove (TVR) policy to identify and address potential weaknesses in the model

The need for better understanding through detailed epidemiological studies to understand the risk factors and reinvigorated biosecurity training and advice.

As part of the review NIVA and the Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in NI (AVSPNI) submitted written evidence and were invited to give oral evidence to the Committee.

"This is a very comprehensive report that shows how complex bovine TB is and identifies the many elements that need to be addressed for a successful eradication policy" said NIVA President Bert Allison.

“We are very pleased that the Committee has taken on board many of the comments that we made in our written and oral submissions and that the final report has recognised the important role of private veterinary practitioners.

“Good partnership working between vets and their farming clients will be essential to the success of any future policy.

“We are also pleased to see that there is a clear political consensus across the Department and the Assembly regarding the need to deal effectively with the disease in wildlife.”

BVA President Peter Jones added: "The Committee has clearly recognised the value of the veterinary profession – both in research and on the ground – in bovine TB eradication."

"The recommendation that DARD commits to an eradication policy, rather than a control policy, makes a lot of sense and helps all stakeholders to look towards the future."

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