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Stackyard News Feb 06

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Badger Trust condemns pre-movement TB testing delays

The Badger Trust today condemned the Government for delaying the introduction of pre-movement TB testing of cattle for a further five weeks.

photo courtesy of The Badger Trust


The pre-movement testing of cattle over 15 months of age was due to commence on 20 February, but has now been deferred until 27 March whilst the Government gives the farming industry "more time to prepare" for the measures.

Trevor Lawson, media advisor to the Badger Trust, commented:

"This decision demonstrates a shocking lack of courage on the part of Government. It means that around 1.3 million additional cattle movements will occur without pre-movement testing, spreading the infection even wider, as peer-reviewed, scientific evidence has already demonstrated. The need for pre-movement testing was outlined by the Independent Scientific Group in 2001. The measure was formally announced a year ago in the Government's bovine TB strategy. Pre-movement testing was backed by a stakeholder group of farmers and vets. Pre-movement testing was introduced in Scotland last year without a hitch.

"The Badger Trust believes the industry has had more than enough time to prepare, so what is the real reason for this delay? We believe that this decision leaves the Minister open to accusations of doing a shabby political deal with farmers to exterminate badgers. This will not help to reduce the problem of bovine TB, but the Minister seems to want the cooperation of farming lobby groups that have staked their reputations on securing badger culling as a solution to the disease.

"There is no sense in delaying further. The Minister himself told the House of Commons last year that 80% of TB outbreaks are spread from cattle to cattle."

link Start date for pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB delayed
link No logic to pro-badger lobby efforts to avoid anti-TB culling
link Defra Guilty Of Half Measures On TB

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