Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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879. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of bovines on farms here tested for tuberculosis using the skin test in each of the years 2015 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6175/20]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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The following table shows the number of skin tests performed on bovines animals for the years 2015 to 2019:

Year Number of skin tests
2019 8,827,682
2018 8,869,856
2017 8,882,933
2016 8,635,824
2015 8,429,602
Since some animals are tested more than once per year due to being in high risk herds or moving between herds, the total number of tests annually exceeds the total number of cattle in the country for a given year.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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880. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of bovines that failed a tuberculosis skin test but showed no lesions post-mortem in each of the years 2015 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6176/20]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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The table below shows the number of bovines that failed a tuberculosis skin test but showed no lesions post-mortem in each of the years 2015 to 2019.

Year Skin reactors with no visible

lesions
2019 8,570
2018 11,777
2017 10,787
2016 10,356
2015 9,169

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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881. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of bovines that failed an on-farm tuberculosis skin test but passed a tuberculosis blood test in each of the years 2015 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6177/20]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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The gamma interferon blood test being used is part of the quality control of TB testing and has a correlation rate of approximately 65% with skin testing, meaning that on average around 65% of skin test reactor animals will test positive on the quality control gamma interferon test.  If this correlation level is not achieved, the Veterinary Inspector managing the case investigates the matter further. 

My Department ensures that on-farm TB testing of cattle by Veterinary Practitioners is carried out to the highest standards.  The quality control system has a number of different strands - potency testing of tuberculin batches, testing equipment maintenance requirements, audits on labs and maintenance providers, analysis of testing data for each testing veterinary practitioner, inspections of veterinary practitioners testing, examination of reactors and blood testing of reactors.

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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882. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of bovines that passed an on-farm tuberculosis skin test but on inspection subsequent to slaughter killed out with lesions in the year of their final tuberculosis test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6178/20]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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The following table shows the number of bovines that passed a TB skin test and which were subsequently sent for routine slaughter at which they were found to have lesions which were confirmed to be bovine TB following laboratory analysis, in the years 2015 to 2019:

Year Animals with clear TB skin test with subsequent TB lesions
2019 1,654
2018 1,612
2017 1,552
2016 1,311
2015 1,550

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