Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Other Questions

Bovine Disease Controls

10:40 am

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I suggest there could be other reasons for the improvement in the reduction in the levels of bovine TB apart from the cull of the badgers. There is no doubt that everybody wants a cattle herd free of bovine TB. It was interesting to read this report which was carried out by the Minister's Department, Trinity College and the National Parks and Wildlife Service over four years. What it discovered was that badgers actively avoid areas where there are cattle, whether in a yard or out in the wild. They have been observed on their nightly wanderings and if they come into a field where there are cattle they divert somewhere else. In the meantime, 80% of the badgers being culled are perfectly healthy animals. We are aware that even though there are licences to shoot them, they are culled in most horrific circumstances. We have seen badgers caught in the trap where they are shot. Poison has been laid. Slurry has been left in some of the traps in order to further intensify the cruelty. This is being carried out under licences issued by the Department.

There is a need for a more holistic approach to bovine TB rather than blaming the badger for everything. I hope the Minister will look at the report which provides interesting findings and see the impetus for the vaccine.


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