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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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News Shorts
Deadly spider found in supermarket bananas

A family has been left traumatised after finding the world's deadliest spider in one of their shopping bags. The Brazilian wandering spider - whose bite can kill within two hours - was found in a home delivery from Waitrose.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the customer, who has been identified only as Tim, found the spider while unpacking bananas and managed to identify its species online. A sac containing hundreds of spider eggs was also found.

Brazilian wandering spiders are usually found in South America and appear in the Guinness World Records as the world's most venomous spider.

The RSPCA and the police both said they were unable to help deal with such a dangerous animal, according to the Mail on Sunday's report. Pest control expert Steve Trippett was called in and succeeding in killing the eggs by freezing them and trapping the spider, which became aggressive.