Dáil Éireann - Volume 518 - 12 April, 2000
Written Answers. - Bovine Diseases.
Mr. Gregory Mr. Gregory
114. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the present restrictions and conditions in abattoirs for the disposal of carcases from non-infected reactors, that is false positives; if these carcases are offered for sale on the home market or exported; the means by which abattoirs dispose of tuberculosis infected carcases; and if a stringent pre-movement testing policy will be considered before resorting to a badger control strategy in view of the fact that Ireland was declared bovine tuberculosis free in 1965. [11145/00]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Carcases of reactor animals, including those of false positive cases, undergo post-mortem inspections in accordance with the provisions of the Abattoirs Act, 1988 (Veterinary Examination) Regulations, 1992 (S.I. No. 89 of 1992). Provided these examinations show no evidence of other diseases or conditions, the carcases may be passed fit for human consumption. These carcases may be traded freely on the home market and within the EU.
In the case of generalised TB, the entire carcase is deemed unfit for human consumption. If only an organ or part is affected, that organ or part is deemed to be unfit for human consumption with the remainder of the carcase being passed fit for human consumption. Material deemed unfit for human consumption is consigned for rendering in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Disposal, Processing and Placing on the Market of Animals by Products) Regulations, 1994 S.I. No. 257 of 1994.
While the introduction of additional movement controls is to be considered in the animal health forum, as provided for in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, any such measures  would be in addition to, and not in substitution for, further work relating to wildlife.
Mr. Gregory Mr. Gregory
115. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the requests, if any, received from farming organisations to cull badgers in 2000; the target figure for badger culling as part of the bovine tuberculosis strategy; the number of additional farm relief service personnel recruited for the culling; if the necessary licence has been granted; the conditions that apply to the licence; and if he will ensure that there is a moratorium on killing during the badger breeding season. [11146/00]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): As part of my Department's research and in response to ongoing requests from the farming organisations, a small percentage of the badger population is removed each year under licences approved by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. During 1999, up to 20% of the badgers removed under licence displayed evidence of being infected with TB. The objective in this regard is to find a solution that will provide protection for both bovines and badgers.
In the context of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, PPF, it was agreed to commit staff resources in each district veterinary office to carry out investigative work into the causes of herd breakdowns including, inter alia, further research into the role of badgers. A proactive approach to the removal of all sources of infection will be taken in each DVO area using 75 dedicated personnel, of which 48 are expected to be from the farm relief service. Their efforts will be concentrated in 20% of the country which yields 50% of current TB reactors. The detailed measures involved will be finalised over the coming months in the context of the animal health forum.
Applications for licences for badger removals are made following evaluations by veterinary inspectors of relevant information regarding likely sources of infection in particular breakdowns, and licences generally include conditions relating inter alia to area involved, duration, means of capture, frequency of inspections, etc.
Every effort is made to ensure that badgers are removed with the minimum of stress and my Department's staff are sensitive to the issue of breeding badgers in regard to the timing of the field operations.
Dáil Éireann 518 Written Answers. Bovine Diseases.