The NFU has vowed to keep pressure on the government over its
handling of Bovine TB after the release of its latest report
on the disease.
Released today, the report by the Independent Scientific Group
on Cattle TB (ISG) examines the links between TB in cattle and
the spread of badgers in the countryside.
The report confirms that badgers “contribute significantly” to
bovine tuberculosis in cattle.
However, it comes to the conclusion that badger culling would
make ‘no meaningful contribution’ to reducing levels
of the disease.
This is despite the findings of the final assessment of the Randomised
Badger Culling Trials (RBCT) which found that repeated culling
can be beneficial and concluded that:
“Careful consideration is needed to determine in what settings
systematic repeated culling might be reliably predicted to be beneficial,
and in those cases whether the benefits of such culling warrant
the costs involved”.
NFU President, Peter Kendall, said today that he would be seeking
urgent meetings with Defra Ministers and officials in order to
devise a culling strategy that would make a worthwhile difference
to the disease situation.
“I simply do not accept that the industry cannot devise
a culling strategy that will reduce the reservoir of TB in badgers”,
“Indeed, recent experience in Ireland, where a targeted
badger culling strategy has reduced TB outbreaks in cattle by 42
per cent in the last five years, confirms that culling can and
does work, if it is carried out thoroughly and carefully
“Careful consideration of culling strategies is what the
final assessment of the RBCT trials recommended, and careful consideration
is precisely what we shall give the situation.
“We will be happy to talk to the Government about better
cattle testing and we welcome the ISG report’s suggestion
that arrangements should be made to allow farms closed down by
TB for long periods to continue trading.
“But better testing and tighter controls on cattle movements
will be worthless unless something is done to stop the relentless
cycle of re-infection of cattle in the TB hotspot areas by disease
spreading from badgers.
“The alternative to a badger cull, as the report acknowledges,
is the appalling prospect of disease continuing to spread through
the countryside for an indefinite period stretching far into the
“That is not acceptable to me, and it will not be acceptable
to my members in the TB hotspot areas.”
Badger culling is meaningless, report scientists
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