The Badger Trust today condemned the Government for delaying the
introduction of pre-movement TB testing of cattle for a further
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."
date for pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB delayed
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