Unacceptable Double Standards.

A ‘carted’ deer hunt was recently filmed by the BBC taking place on open countryside around Rathfriland / Katesbridge, an area in which badgers are being trapped and tested by DARD to establish the prevalence of Bovine Tuberculosis in the badger population.

Bovine TB costs the public purse millions each year in compensation paid out to the owners of infected herds. It leads to the culling of livestock and the USPCA are committed to its eradication by science based methods of control that do not decimate our badgers.

DARD and organisations such as Ulster Farmers Union support the on-going investigation into the impact ‘wildlife’ has on the transmission and spread of this disease. DARD has just announced an extension of the on-going survey to other areas within County Down.

As a first line of defence against Bovine TB both agencies advocate and encourage strict bio-security measures are applied on all farms, in our view a wise and necessary precaution.

Both organisations are quick to assure the USPCA their use of the generic term ‘wildlife’ is not exclusive to badgers and includes the deer population as a potential carrier of infection.

How ironic that a stag is kept in and released from a shed containing cattle and then pursued across open countryside from farm to farm by horses, hounds and ‘humans’ breaking every rule fundamental to bio-security.

It would be of interest to the hard pressed public who fund the huge burden of compensation to hear the views of both the Ulster Farmers Union and DARD on an obvious breach of bio-security that’s risks the spread of infection and the consequent slaughter of infected animals.