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Stackyard News Aug 06

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Stakeholders agree on TB - now Government needs to act

All of the major farming organisations met last Thursday to agree a common position on the actions needed to tackle Bovine TB.


A seven point statement was agreed by the stakeholder group at a meeting hosted by the NFU. The statement has now been delivered to Ben Bradshaw.

Meurig Raymond, deputy president of the NFU, said: “We’ve done all we can here. We’ve agreed a position which will involve farmers continuing to put up with cost and inconvenience, but as part of a partnership approach with government.

“This agreement has now been issued to the minister, Ben Bradshaw. This places the ball very firmly in the Government’s court. We’re prepared to play our part, are they prepared to play theirs?”

The Points of Agreement from the meeting:

1. All the organisations represented committed themselves to doing everything possible to contain and eradicate bovine TB.

2. Industry participation in a badger culling programme can only be in the context of a genuine partnership with Government, involving their providing overt facilitation, mapping, monitoring, carcase disposal and other support.

3. TB Control Strategy Groups should be set up, aligned with DVM areas, involving farmers, vets, the SVS and other stakeholders to determine overall strategy for their area, to advise on the delineation of control areas and facilitate the creation of local TB management groups.

4. Culling to be carried out by trained contractors engaged by TB management groups using cage traps and shooting in the short-term, and CO (carbon monoxide) gassing and, possibly, stop snaring, when these methods are approved.

5. Under Defra licences, culling to be focused in the first instance on disease hotspots within the framework of larger control areas, in most cases of at least 300 sq km, ideally bounded by hard physical boundaries.

6. The industry and Government to work together to develop a strategy that will allow healthy badgers and cattle to co-exist post-clearance. Full support to be given to the ongoing development of vaccines.

7. All the organisations represented committed themselves to encourage their membership to co-operate with a culling strategy as outlined above, and in a programme of public information focused on the vital importance of controlling the disease.

Statement agreed by:

NFU England & Wales
Holstein UK
Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
Central Association of Agricultural Valuers
NFU Cymru
Tenant Farmers Association
National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs
Livestock Auctioneers Association
National Beef Association
Bill Madders (dairy farmer)
John Gallagher (veterinary scientist)

In addition: members of the British Veterinary Association were present and approved the statement, but formal agreement by their organisations would have to be ratified by their Councils.

link Vets and farmers in "last chance saloon", advise conservationists
link Roll out of TB blood test (IFN-g) is positive move - NBA
link New TB testing regime is step forward but no solution
link Further action to improve testing of cattle for bovine TB

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