The Tenant Farmers Association has responded to the Government’s announcement of a project to pilot a badger vaccine to combat Bovine TB in England by stressing that it must not be seen as a silver bullet.
TFA National Chairman Greg Bliss said “Bovine TB is a cruel disease which has caused devastation to many within the farming community. We must use the full toolkit of measures available to eradicate this disease as soon as practically possible. Vaccination is an important tool but we are concerned that DEFRA Secretary of State, Hilary Benn looks upon it as some form of universal saviour. Measures must also be taken to deal with the high level of TB infection within the badger population which sadly means culling of infected badgers along with the culling of TB infected cattle which is happening already. We see little point in vaccinating badgers which already have the disease”.
The TFA is looking to the TB Eradication Group established by DEFRA to come up with a composite plan for eradication. In that respect the TFA is surprised that it would appear that whilst the group received a presentation on the vaccination project it was not formally consulted.
“The TB Eradication Group must be allowed to produce its eradication plan without political interference. New, emerging evidence needs to be carefully considered with final decisions being based upon sound science. We want to rid ourselves of TB once and for all so that we can reach a stage where healthy badgers and healthy cattle and co-exist without problem. We cannot carry on slaughtering tens of thousands of cattle and restricting the movements of hundreds of thousands more when it is clearly doing nothing to stop the spread of the disease. Let’s look at vaccination but let us also grasp the nettle to deal with the TB infected badgers as part of a wide ranging, all embracing campaign to eradicate this dreadful disease” said Mr Bliss.
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