Dáil Éireann - Volume 361 - 23 October, 1985

Written Answers. - TB and Brucellosis Eradication Schemes.

341. Mr. Prendergast asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will outline the progress in the campaign to eradicate (a) bovine tuberculosis and (b) brucellosis from the national herd; and if he will make a statement on these matters.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Deasy): Bovine Tubercullosis — substantial progress in bovine TB eradication was made in the initial stages of the scheme. Since the fifties, when 17 per cent of animals were infected, the level of disease had been reduced to the point where at the end of the 1983-84 testing programme the [234] animal incidence stood at 0.16 per cent. However, since the earlier progress had not been maintained in recent years, the Government, in the context of the national plan, decided to launch a fresh drive against bovine TB. Substantially increased funding was set aside for the bovine disease eradication schemes over the period of the plan (1985-87) and important improvements and new procedures were introduced. While it is too early yet to make any definitive assessment of progress the coherent and co-ordinated approach adopted under the plan and now being implemented under the current testing programme should provide a firm basis for the successful eradication of bovine TB.

Brucellosis — the position here is very satisfactory. At present, less than 600 herds are restricted compared to 14,000 five years ago. The significant progress achieved in recent years suggests that, barring some unexpected reversals which in disease matters cannot be entirely excluded, the national herd should soon be virtually free of this disease.