Farmers should ask for a TB risk rating when transporting cattle – Dept vet

Farmers have been advised to ask other farmers about their individual TB risk rating when bringing cattle onto their farm.

The Department of Agriculture’s decision in 2020 to produce individualized reports providing a TB herd risk category for farmers proved controversial, with the IFA calling the decision a “fiasco” and claiming it was an attempt to screen farmers for events outside their “Blacklist” Control.

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue defended the reports, saying no requirements emerged from the latest TB letters.

However, during a Teagasc farm walk in Galway last week, Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector Peter O’Neill encouraged farmers to seek details of other farmers’ TB status when bringing their animals into their herds.

“Cattle movements are a major risk for introducing TB into a farm. We recommend using the herd risk assessment,” said Mr. O’Neill.

“You are all aware of this and you have all received your letters telling you what the rating of your flock is. Risk assessment is primarily about protecting your herd and when you move animals you want to know what the risk assessment for TB was for the herd you are moving them from,” he said.

He explained the difference between TB rankings and urged farmers to avoid the riskiest animals whenever possible.


He confirmed the department would not release information on other farmers’ TB risk status, but said: “I would not buy a car without knowing its history,” adding “if that information was not available.” [from the other farmer]maybe you need to think about why that is.”

Mr O’Neill informed farmers at the event that the number of TB casualties had increased significantly since 2015 and said that figures from recent years had shown that the dairy herd was disproportionately represented in terms of the number of reactors .

He encouraged farmers to look at their own production process and understand where the risks of TB lie and how to control those risks.

“Perhaps in the past there was a feeling that if your herd got TB, it was an act of God and there wasn’t much you could do about it. This is far from the case. There are many things you can do that may not eliminate the risk, but certainly reduce the risk of developing TB,” he said. Farmers should ask for a TB risk rating when transporting cattle – Dept vet

Fry Electronics Team

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