2014-04-09   facebook twitter rss

National Beef Association TB Disappointment

Bill Harper of the National Beef Association gives us his views on the Badger Cull decision.

Bill Harper Chair of the NBA Tb Committee is disappointed at the decision not to roll out the badger cull piloted last year. Bill sees the decision as entirely political and lays the blame “firmly with those members of the coalition without the commitment to persevere with the battle to combat TB in cattle and wildlife namely Nick Clegg and fellow Liberals”.

Beef Cattle

Mr Harper expressed his disappointment after the Government TB Free Strategy for England was published this week, along with the Independent Expert Panel report. The report acknowledges culling badgers by controlled shooting can be safe with best practice followed, even with the presence of protestors.

“I am concerned that the IEP report does not truly reflect the picture reported to me by those involved in the cull but I do see that some of the recommendations could be used to improve the effectiveness of any future cull.”

Mr Harper reiterated his support for and thanked those farmers who had been involved in the pilot culls to assess the use of shooting as a safe and humane manner for culling badgers. Mr Harper explained “the pilots were pilots, they were to test the methods used and enable improvements to how the cull would proceed, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy but to give up after the first stage is unforgiveable.”

“TB remains a terrible devastating disease for cattle and cattle farmers, and its spread remains unhalted with all areas under risk. Statistics released by Defra show there were 4,815 new herds infected with TB in 2013 in Great Britain, with 90 cattle a day slaughtered in an attempt to control the disease. Testing alone has shown itself not to be the answer, it is crucial that cattle movement controls have to happen in partnership with measures to tackle the disease in wildlife.”

Mr Harper advocates using a system of “reactive culls where there is an outbreak, a model used effectively to control the disease in Ireland.”

Finally Mr Harper sees that farmers need to work together to improve their parish biosecurity with a coordinated and whole parish approach.


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