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Stackyard News Dec 05

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Government Lacks Leadership On Bovine TB

The Tenant Farmers Association has said that it deplores the lack of leadership shown by the Government in tackling the rampant spread of bovine TB in Great Britain.

The TFA’s bovine TB representative and South West Regional Chairman Barrie Rose said “The TFA believes that there has been a reluctance to tackle the real issues including, most significantly, the amount of disease which exists within wildlife and in particular, amongst TB infected badgers. The announcement made by DEFRA Minister Ben Bradshaw on 15 December falls a long way short of what is required to tackle the serious problem of Bovine TB”.

“Although the TFA supported the Government’s Randomised Badger Culling Trials [“the Krebs trials”] we did so with the proviso that the Government took action in the interim to deal with the level of disease that existed in wildlife prior to full scientific results being obtained. However, this did not occur and as a result of the Government’s failure in this area, bovine TB has spread rapidly throughout the country. We lay the blame for this at the door of the Government which has failed to take the action required in order to stem the level of disease” said Mr Rose.

The TFA believes that the goal of policy over the next ten years should be to see the eradication of bovine TB. This may seem a tall order but the TFA believes that it is something which is achievable over that timeframe. The TFA believes that the Government and industry should be working together in order to achieve that goal.

“The time for further talking shops, consultation and survey work is over. The TFA calls on the Government to lay out an action plan for the achievement of the goal to eradicate TB over the next ten years” said Mr Rose.

The TFA has issued a paper setting out in more detail its response to the Government’s announcement and the issues it believes the Government should be implementing now. In summary it asks for the following:

  • 1. The overall goal of policy over the next ten years should be to see the complete eradication of bovine TB.

  • 2. There should be no regional differentiation of policy.

  • 3. The Government’s roles in controlling TB should be:
    a) To ensure that bovine TB is eradicated in wildlife.
    b) To ensure the swifter removal of infected cattle from holdings.
    c) To ensure the payment of fair compensation for slaughtered cattle.
    d) To carry out research into the genetic disposition of cattle that gain immunity.
    e) To carry out research into vaccination for cattle.
    f) To carry out research into polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.

  • 4. The TFA rejects outright pre-movement testing.

  • 5. There should be universal TB testing of all cattle on an annual basis.

  • 6. Skin tests and culture tests should be the main form of testing for cattle backed by gamma interferon following a previous positive test on a holding.

  • 7. All infected badgers should be culled nationwide starting with all infected badgers within a six-mile radius of holdings which have had a TB breakdown in the last twelve-months.

  • 8. Table valuations should not be introduced unless greater recognition is given to animals of high genetic merit or cross-bred cattle. Table valuations should not be introduced unless the Government are prepared to introduce culling of infected badgers as noted at point 7.

link TB measures too little, too late
link Nine years going no-where with the TB Forum
New TB Rules Take Effect

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Tenant Farmers Association