The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has launched a survey to gain a better understanding of the extent of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in wild deer in Northern Ireland.

AFBI has invited all BASC members and deer stalkers in Northern Ireland to take part in this groundbreaking survey.

The eradication programme for bTB in Northern Ireland costs an estimated £40 million per year. Despite large scale eradication efforts, bTB remains a huge problem for the farming sector.

It is envisaged that this work will have several benefits, including;

  • Providing a clearer picture of the role deer may play in the current TB epidemic in cattle.
  • A better understanding of the biosecurity implications of processing and consuming venison.
  • A greater appreciation of the animal health and welfare consequences of this disease.
  • The production of novel scientific knowledge.

How can you help?

AFBI are asking members of the deer stalking community to provide the heads (with antlers removed) of shot animals for TB testing. AFBI has provided BASC with sample kits containing plastic bags, cable ties and the necessary form.   

Samples will be collected from a convenient location by the DAERA Wildlife Unit. Any BASC member wishing to obtain a sample kit should contact the BASC NI office on 02892 605 050 or using the email address

This survey runs from 1 November 2019 to 31 March 2020 and will operate in a very similar way to the DAERA fox survey, using the same telephone numbers (07767 271 431 or 08290 765 333). Any member wishing to submit a deer head for testing should use these contact numbers.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr Siobhán Porter using or 02890 519 495.

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