Friday 15 December 2017 09:28:38 PM

O’Neill Encourages County Down Farmers To Join Badger Sett Survey
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Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that farmers and landowners will have a further opportunity to take part in the Badger Sett Survey in County Down.

Badgers are to be surveyed.

Badgers are to be further surveyed in County Down.

The Badger Sett Survey forms part of preparations for the proposed “test and vaccinate or remove (TVR)” wildlife intervention research. A high level of herdkeeper/landowner participation is absolutely vital to the TVR study.

Badger Sett Surveys commenced in two 100km2 areas in County Down in February and March 2013. Some 75% of the Banbridge / Rathfriland area and 61% of the area near Castlewellan were surveyed before surveying was suspended for the summer months when the level of vegetation growth made this work unsuitable. Surveys will commence again this winter.

The Minister said: “My officials are now writing again to provide those farmers who have not already given permission, with a further opportunity to be involved in this survey. It is important that all farmers return their permission slip in the pre-paid envelope provided and I would encourage them to do so now.

“I have been really pleased with the level of farmer co-operation that we have already received during the first stage of our Badger Sett Surveys earlier this year and I hope that we can continue to build on that good work.”

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) are conducting the Badger Sett Survey. The on-farm work being conducted by the AFBI employed staff relates to badger sett surveying only. The AFBI employed staff are not farm inspectors and they will observe good biosecurity and seek to avoid any impact on the day to day activities on the farm when conducting the badger sett survey.