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Stackyard News Jun 07

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NFU reacts to ISG Bovine TB report findings

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”, he said.

“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 future.

“That is not acceptable to me, and it will not be acceptable to my members in the TB hotspot areas.”

link Badger culling is meaningless, report scientists
link Badger Trust Warns Vet's Evidence Based on Anecdote
link Badgers as Common as Foxes - Defra survey

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