Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen today announced that the third year of the Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) Wildlife Intervention Research Project is due to begin in a 100km² area around Banbridge, Co Down.
The TVR research project began in 2014, the aim of which is to describe the effects of implementing a TVR approach on badgers in an area of high cattle TB prevalence. It will greatly add to the Department’s knowledge base and provide currently unknown information on badgers and specifically TB in badgers.
Year 2 of the Project was completed in October 2015 in the TVR selected area of 100km² around Banbridge, Co.Down, during which there were 692 badger capture events. This was made up of 341 unique badgers plus a further 351 re-captured badgers, with some badgers being captured on more than one occasion.
Minister McIlveen said: “I would like to thank the 95% of farmers and land owners who granted access to their land last year to enable my veterinary staff to carry out this important work and I would encourage any farmers or landowners who did not participate in Years 1 or 2 of the programme to consider doing so as we move into Years 3 to 5 of the project.
“The third year of the project will commence in late June / early July and, similar to Year 2 of the project, will involve the capture of wild badgers, sampling, micro-chipping and vaccinating them against bovine TB with the removal, from the TVR area, of any badgers testing positive for bovine TB.
“The worldwide shortage of BCG vaccine meant that the badger BCG vaccine used in Years 1 and 2 was unavailable for purchase. It was possible, however, to obtain a supply of out-of-date BCG vaccine from the Welsh Government.
“Whilst the Welsh Government could not legally use this supply in a badger vaccination programme it will be permissible for DAERA to use it as part of TVR, given that it is a research project. DAERA officials are in the process of organising a stakeholder event for farmers in the TVR area, to update them on this development.”
The Report on Year 2 of the Test Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) Wildlife Intervention Research Project can be downloaded from the DAERA website.
Notes to editors:
- The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) long term aim is to eradicate bovine TB in cattle in Northern Ireland. This disease is a significant cost to farmers due to movement restrictions, loss of productivity and follow up herd testing, and to the Department in terms of compensation payments and animal testing.
- On 3 July 2012 the then DARD Minister O’Neill announced that she had tasked officials with developing and costing a specific “Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR)” Wildlife Intervention Research project (which would involve the TB testing of live badgers; vaccinating and releasing the test negative badgers; and removing the test positive ones).
- To help formulate the project, design modelling work was undertaken and Badger Sett Surveying took place in 2x100km2 areas of Co Down (Banbridge and Castlewellan).
- The TVR intervention research project will run for five years and require the capture of badgers between June – November annually. In Year 1 all captured badgers were sampled, microchipped and vaccinated against bovine TB. All badgers were released. From Year 2 to the final year in 2018, all TB test positive badgers will be removed from the TVR area. All test negative badgers will still be sampled, microchipped and vaccinated against bovine TB in Year 2 onwards.
- The aim of the TVR research project is to describe the effects of implementing a TVR approach on badgers in an area of high cattle TB prevalence. It will greatly add to the Department’s knowledge base and provide currently unknown information on badgers and specifically TB in badgers.
- Farmers and land owners in the TVR area who did not take part in the last couple of years, and wish to take part this year, should contact Newry DVO, Glenree House, Unit 2, Springhill Road, Carnbane Industrial Estate, Carnbane, NEWRY, BT35 6EF – telephone 0300 200 7840.
- For more information on the TVR study please visit the DAERA website.
- All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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