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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
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£4 million research programme to be commissioned

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has responded to recent criticism from the Ulster Farmer's Union (UFU) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) policy on badger culling as a means of countering the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by confirming that controlling the disease is a 'key priority'.

Ms O'Neill stated that “We are investing around £4million to commission a programme of TB and wildlife research and studies towards the ultimate aim of eradicating TB in cattle. We will use the evidence produced by this programme to inform a comprehensive approach that deals with all aspects of TB and will help to reduce the level of disease in cattle.”

“We already have a rigorous EU Commission approved eradication programme in place. We also need to build a sound evidence base to underpin further interventions in cattle and/or wildlife that could help to reduce TB as part of our eradication programme.” the Minister added.

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New European accreditation body for veterinary education

Veterinary Continuing Education in Europe has been set up with the aim of setting European standards for post graduate professional development programmes for the improvement of veterinary care.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the European Board for Veterinary Specialisation, the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education and the Union of European Veterinary Practitioners, set up the new VetCEE accreditation body.

Christophe Buhot, president of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), commented: "It is expected that VetCEE will raise the quality and transparency of post graduate training programmes, to the ultimate benefit of animals and their owners."