Written Answers - Bovine Disease Controls.

Tuesday, 25 March 2003

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 563 No. 4

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  185.  Mr. Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food  Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh   the number of herds that were depopulated based on singleton reactors each year from 1997 to 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7637/03]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  No herds were depopulated for TB based on singleton reactors between 1997 and 2002.

The number of herds depopulated for brucellosis, which had a single laboratory positive animal during the same period was as follows: 1997 – ten herds; 1998 – 13 herds; 1999 – 26 herds; 2000 -18 herds; 2001 – 38 herds; and 2002 – 60 herds.

In the case of brucellosis a number of factors are taken into account when deciding whether depopulation should be undertaken in any particular herd. These include number of reactors, pregnancy status of reactors, reactor titres, that is, high or low readings on blood results, likelihood of abortions or infected calvings having taken place, level of brucellosis in the area and in contiguous herds, and other relevant results, for example, milk ELISA results and gland culture results.

In recent years it has been the policy to depopulate infected herds at the earliest possible stage, with a view to limiting the likelihood of spread to neighbouring herds and to reducing the possibility of exposure of the farmer or farm workers etc. to infection. This approach also means that some animals may be removed before they are confirmed as reactors.

This rapid depopulation policy, allied to a number of other measures introduced since 1998, has led to a significant reduction in the levels of brucellosis in the national herd.

The number of new restrictions for brucellosis has fallen from a peak of 1081 in 1998 to 430 in 2002 while the number of brucellosis depopulations has fallen from 328 in 1998 to 217 in 2002. The number of brucellosis reactor animals has fallen from 6417 in 1998 to 1530 in 2002. The improvement is continuing to date this year.

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