The Badger Trust has welcomed the introduction of pre-movement
TB testing for cattle in England today, but argues that more can
still be done to bring the disease under effective control.
"The scientific evidence shows that cattle movements substantially
and consistently outweigh all other factors for predicting the
spread of bovine TB. Even animal welfare Minister, Ben Bradshaw,
has admitted that 80 per cent of TB is spread from cattle to cattle," said Badger Trust spokesman, Trevor Lawson. "If
properly enforced and regulated, pre-movement testing will begin
to reverse the spread of the disease.
"However, more must be done. Success in Ireland and in Scotland
shows that post-movement testing is also vital. The skin test
can miss up to one in three infected animals, so a second test
helps to remove infected stock missed the first time around. In
addition, in problem herds the Government must introduce the gamma
interferon TB test, which identifies and removes the hidden infection
that is missed by the skin test. Gamma interferon is already
in effective use across the rest of Europe, Australasia and the
United States but here, the Government continues to prevaricate
over its use."
Mr Lawson criticised the National Farmers Union and Livestock
Auctioneers Association for calling for further delays to the introduction
of pre-movement testing. "We support the NFU in calling
for the Government to pay for pre-movement testing. But in arguing
for a delay, the NFU and the LAA are showing their true colours.
We often hear the NFU claiming that farmers are doing all they
can to control TB, yet here we have the industry trying to obstruct
the most vital of TB control measures, safe in the knowledge that
tax payers will pick up the compensation bill. It is grossly irresponsible
and will only serve to deepen the public's growing distrust of
the farming industry."
TB testing to pile on agony for farmers and markets
challenged to produce sound TB science
call for humane badger culling