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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
£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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Working dogs help celebrate 50 years of Eye Scheme

News Story 1
 Fifty working dogs and 50 dogs over eight years old are being offered free eye examinations to celebrate 50 years of the Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme.

The main purpose of the Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme, which currently screens for 12 conditions in over 50 breeds, is to ensure there is no evidence of hereditary eye disease in dogs used for breeding.

Organisers say that The Canine Health Scheme, run by the BVA and Kennel Club, will approach a number of working dog organisations to organise the exams.

Owners of dogs that are over eight can contact the CHS office on 020 7908 6380 for details of their nearest participating eye panelist. 

News Shorts
Princess Anne presents award to Moredun chief

The Royal Smithfield Club has awarded its prestigious bicentenary trophy to Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, for her "outstanding contribution" to promoting the highest standards of livestock health and welfare in the UK and worldwide. Prof Fitzpatrick is chief executive of the Moredun Group and scientific director of the Moredun Research Institute. Upon receiving her award from HRH the Princess Royal, she said she was "greatly honoured", and thanked her colleagues at Moredun, foundation members, the Royal Smithfield Club and the livestock industry.