Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (232)

Eugene Murphy


232. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of progress of the badger vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12454/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

From January 2018, the formal badger Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination programme commenced in the areas which formed part of the field trials, i.e. in parts of counties Monaghan, Longford, Galway, Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork and in all of Louth.

Badgers in a vaccination area are captured, vaccinated and released instead of being captured and culled. The vaccination program is continuing on an annual basis, so each year’s births in vaccination areas are vaccinated as they are captured. It is intended to expand the vaccination area incrementally to all parts of the country during the 2019-2022 period. Badger vaccination will commence in parts of Co Roscommon in 2019, and will continue in Co Galway where it has been carried out in some areas for several years during the field trials which demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach.

Vaccinating badgers with BCG is a way to deliver protection to cattle and thereby to farmers from the risk of a TB breakdown, and is a key part of the strategy to eradicate bovine TB.