Healy-Rae’s claim TB is linked to deer rejected

Claims that protected, wild deer are carriers of TB, which affects cattle, have been rejected by the Department of Agriculture.

Calling for action to deal with roaming deer, Independent Kerry county councillor Johnny Healy-Rae said that, as reputed TB carriers, deer posed a threat to farmers’ livelihoods.

He said while the incidence of TB in cattle had fallen nationally, it has risen 10-fold in parts of Kerry.

Deer could be found all over south and east Kerry. Killarney National Park was overrun by deer and the Office of Public Works had lost control, he said.

“If I had my way, I would slaughter every deer and every badger in the country,’’ Mr Healy-Rae said, proposing the council write to the Dept of Agriculture regarding the situation.

A Department of Agriculture spokesman yesterday said research showed deer were not efficient as TB carriers. Since January 2011, samples from four deer had been submitted as suspect carriers, but TB was not confirmed in any case.

“The department, therefore, has no recent evidence to substantiate claims that deer in Kerry are responsible for the transmission of TB to cattle,’’ said the spokesman.

National Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager Pat Dawson said deer were protected under the Wildlife Act and the service was not obliged to fence them in.


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