Dáil Éireann - Volume 512 - 01 December, 1999

Written Answers. - Tuberculosis Incidence.

143. Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the plans, if any, he has to replace the present tuberculosis test with a blood test which is the case in other EU countries in view of the increasing incidence of tuberculoses reactors in many herds and the failure of the present test to eradicate it in bovine herds; the annual costs of the present scheme in each of the past five years; the number of herds in each of these years in which reactors were identified; his views on whether the new proposal requirement of locking up herds showing inconclusive animals in herds is not an over-reaction in current depressed market conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25621/99]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The definitive legal test for bovine tuberculosis under EU legislation is the single intradermal tuberculin test and is the one used in all EU countries. There are no plans at present to replace it with a blood test although it has been used to augment the official test in certain limited situations.

The requirement to restrict movement from herds showing inconclusive animals is provided [278] for in EU Directive 64/432, as amended, and its application here is currently under consideration.

The following is the gross cost to the Exchequer, excluding administrative costs, of the bovine tuberculosis scheme for each of the past five years:

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

£33.7m

£36.9m

£31.3m

£23.8m

£27.9m

Farmer levies towards the costs of both TB and brucellosis regimes over the period 1994 to 1998 are as follows:

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

£27.6m

£28.8m

£15.9m

£10.6m

£9.2m

The number of herds in which TB reactors were identified is as follows:

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

9,453

9,518

8,867

8,139

10,055