Faked TB test puts reputation of ‘entire cattle industry at risk’

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has weighed in on Northern Ireland’s first ever TB fraud conviction, describing the incident as the “selfish acts of a few unscrupulous individuals”.

Last week, a father and son from Co. Tyrone were convicted of faking positive results in a TB test in an attempt to claim compensation.

The union said the incident has put the reputation of the entire cattle industry in the region at risk.

UFU president, Ivor Ferguson said: “Taking actions to make it look like an animal has TB when it doesn’t is completely unacceptable.

It is an insult to the farmers whose herds actually have the disease and the stress and strain they have endured as a result.

Ferguson continued: “Bovine tuberculosis is the scourge of the countryside and it is a very real and expensive problem on farms.

“To-date, there has only been one conviction and we do not consider this case to be reflective of the wider industry.

The vast majority of farmers would never entertain such behaviour and it is grossly unfair to tarnish the reputation of all farmers because of the actions of a few individuals.

Going forward, the UFU said it would support more robust penalties for this type of crime to maintain public confidence and to protect the integrity of the eradication programme.

“We want to work with DAERA on this to ensure no one is getting TB compensation unlawfully.

“We won’t let the actions of a few undermine the collective efforts of the industry to tackle this awful disease. I hope this conviction acts as a deterrent for anyone considering this kind of abhorrent behaviour,” added the UFU president.