Written Answers. - Bovine Diseases.

Ivor Callely

Question:

179 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the number of cases of tuberculosis and brucellosis in animals in each of the years 1989, 1994 and 1999; the noticable concerns, if any; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5200/00]

TB

Brucellosis

Year

Number of Reactors disclosed at test

Year

Number of Laboratory positive tests

1989

43,685

1989

1,872

1994

30,439

1994

2,810

1999

44,903

1999

4,545

I am concerned at the increased incidence of TB in recent years which has been matched by similar increases in Northern Ireland and in parts of Britain. I should point out however, that in overall terms some 99.5% of the country's 7.9 million cattle pass the TB test each year.
As regards brucellosis, a series of measures were introduced in 1997 and 1998 to address the deteriorating position. The current regime was reviewed during 1999 by an EU Food and Veterinary Office – FVO – mission and their report broadly endorsed the measures in place and being introduced. While it is too early to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the new measures, as their contribution will not become apparent for at least another calving cycle, already there are some signs that the position is improving. For example, the number of laboratory positive blood tests fell from 6,417 in 1998 to 4,545 last year, while the number of net restricted herds at 31 December 1999, restricted under EU legislation, was 228 compared with 383 at the end of the previous year.
In the context of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, it has been agreed that measures will be adopted with the objective of reducing current levels of TB by 50% and of making significant progress towards eradicating brucellosis within the next four years. These measures will be finalised with the farming and veterinary bodies in the context of the Animal Health Forum.
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