Northern Ireland has carried out 2 major trials to substantiate cattle to cattle transmission of bovine tb.
Dr. Louis O'Reilly carried out the first in 1988, to try and validate lateral spread.
Fifteen naturally infected cattle were housed with two in contact cattle each, for seven months.
What happened? Nothing. Not a thing.
"At the end of the period the infected cattle failed to transmit Tb to the in-contact pair of animals".
Ten years later, one of the researchers who worked with Dr. O'Reilly has had a second bite at the cherry. Eamon Costello repeated the experiment with ten groups, but housed them for twelve months.
Although the cattle were in close confinement for a year, the in-contact cattle in six of the groups failed to become infected. Tb was transmitted in only four of the ten housed groups.
"The results of the experiment suggest that some tuberculous cattle do not readily infect other cattle"
The Tb investigation unit in Northern Ireland, have suggested that infected badgers may be the primary source for new outbreaks.
This report first appeared in the "Irish Farmers' Journal"