Coveney: Badger culling has made a crucial difference to TB levels

The culling of badgers is cost effective and has contributed significantly to the improved Bovine TB disease situation in recent years.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said that is the view of his department, particularly since 2008, during which time the number of reactors has declined by almost 50%, from around 30,000 to 15,600 last year.

“This is a new record low since the commencement of the eradication programme in the 1950s and, for the first time since then, eradication is now a practicable proposition.

“It is noteworthy that the animal prevalence of TB in Ireland in 2013 was, at 0.26%, roughly half of that in Northern Ireland where badger culling is not practised,” he said.

Mr Coveney, responding to Dáil queries by Independent TD Catherine Murphy, said the improvement in the TB situation has also resulted in a significant reduction in expenditure on the eradication scheme, which has fallen from €55m in 2008 to €30m in 2013.

“It is also noteworthy the incidence of TB in badgers has fallen by about 50% since 2002, and this is also contributing to the reduction in the incidence of the disease in cattle,” he said.

Ms Murphy also asked the minister if he had studied a recent paper which indicates that culling badgers in Britain has little impact on reducing the spread of TB.

Mr Coveney said his department is aware of the report and will study it further as part of the ongoing review of the bovine TB eradication scheme.

Mr Coveney pointed out that badgers are only removed in areas where an epidemiological investigation carried out by his department’s veterinary inspectorate has found that they are the likely source of infection.


Keep chomping on those carrots so your eyes will be in perfect working order for that prolonged annual gaze through the keyhole as Home of the Year returns for a sixth series next week.Home of the Year offers a good excuse for a bit of good-natured interiors voyeurism

They differ from the more prevalent oranges we eat because their flesh, and often the skin, is crimson or deep red in colour.Michelle Darmody: The best time of year to buy blood oranges

The annual Members Exhibition now underway at the Lavit Gallery in Cork features 92 works from 72 artists.The exhibition runs until March 7.Under the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctions

There’s an oriental theme at the James Adam ‘At Home’ auction in Dublin, says Des O’SullivanAuctions: Sale full of eastern promise

More From The Irish Examiner