Farmers calling for badger cull

FARMERS in the borough of Coleraine have called on Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, to cull badger populations or risk a TB epidemic which could wipe out local herds of cattle.

Speaking after a face-to-face meeting with the minister, Northern Ireland co-ordinator of Farmers For Action, Mr. William Taylor, said the issue of TB and Brucellosis infection was “top of the agenda” at the talks.

And he revealed the minister had expressed her wish that all of Northern Ireland be granted “Brucellosis Free” status by 2014.

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The Macosquin-based farmer spoke to The Times following the meeting at which FFA members backed up their call for a cull of infected badgers to “end Northern Ireland’s TB scourge.”

“England and Wales are now at a point that we would not wish to get to with alarming numbers of cross species bovine TB now evident,” he said. “The alarm bells are already ringing in Northern Ireland with proof of at least one other species incident.”

The FFA pointed out to the minister: “The Badger Trust and other similar minded organisation must now act responsibly towards the health of the species they purport to represent if badgers are to survive in the long term.”

“Northern Ireland farmers, with DARD’s help, have been testing and culling bovines for years, proving their credentials in their quest for healthy animals and avoidance of watching animals suffer TB.”

More radiation monitors required: FFA

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THE local branch of Farmers for Action has called on the government to bolster the North Coast’s early warning radiation detectors following reactor breaches in Tsunami-hit Japan earlier this year.

A NI spokesman for the organisation, which is based at Macosquin, Coleraine, has spoken to Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, asking her to support their call to the Department of Agriculture and Regional Development to increase the current number of gamma radiation monitors on Ulster’s North and East coasts.

“This would put us in a stronger position to get immediate warning should any leaks occur on the mainland or further afield.”