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Deer bTB Survey in Northern Ireland

Currently there is a Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) epidemic in cattle in Northern Ireland.

The eradication programme for bTB costs and estimated £40 million per year, with an average of 1,000 cattle culled each month. But despite these large-scale eradication efforts, bTB remains a huge problem for the NI farming sector.

A research project is being carried out into bovine Tuberculosis in deer in NI. This project, being conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), aims to gain a better understanding of the extent of bTB in red, sika and fallow deer.

The project hopes this work will have several benefits, including;

  • a clearer picture of the role deer may play in the current TB epidemic in cattle
  • an improved understanding of the biosecurity implications of processing and consuming venison
  • a greater appreciation of the animal health and welfare consequences of this disease
  • the production of novel scientific knowledge

Members of the deer stalking community can help by providing heads (with antlers removed) of shot animals for TB testing. Samples will be collected from a convenient location by the DAERA Wildlife Unit. This survey is set to run from 1 November 2019 to 31 March 2020. 

At this stage, interested parties should provide a name, contact email/number, and the DVO you are likely to be operating in ( pdf download map and letter (119 KB) ).