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Stackyard News Mar 06

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RABDF call for humane badger culling

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has called for humane badger culling in high TB incidence areas as part of Defra’s overall strategy to control bovine tuberculosis. It argues there is strong evidence that culling, as part of an integrated control package, does reduce TB in cattle, and that in the long term this policy will be the most cost effective for both farmers and Government.

“Evidence has shown in other countries that the only way to control TB not only in cattle, but also in badgers is to hit hard all sides of the disease,” comments RABDF vice chairman, Lyndon Edwards in the Association’s response to Defra’s public consultation on TB. “Culling should be should be included in a control package along with proper movement controls, rigorous testing including use of gamma interferon, and culling of the infected wildlife reservoir. Culling in splendid isolation will not control TB.”

The Association’s preferred culling method is gassing to be carried out by licensed operators including farmers and ‘countryside professionals’ who should be trained in small groups of operators by a Defra Management Group. It also urges Government to give serious consideration to employing the army which demonstrated its effectiveness during the FMD cull.

“In the first instance, Defra should coordinate those deployed to undertake the cull in hot spot areas determined by TB history starting with one year testing, and within a 1km to 2km radius of infected farms,” Lyndon explains.

“These licences should also start to be issued outside the existing hot spots where an outbreak cannot be explained by cattle movement. We believe it to be Defra’s responsibility to control the spread of TB in badgers on the edges of these hot spots, while in areas currently free from infection, it is also important to protect healthy badgers from TB.”

He adds: “We have recommended to Defra that in justifying a badger cull it should make clear to the general public the risks of TB in badgers to human health and domestic pets. Furthermore, we believe that Defra should make clear to the public that the long term goal of a badger cull is to eradicate the disease and then restock the countryside with healthy badgers. Farmers’ long term goal is for healthy cattle and healthy badgers.”

link Cattle farmers in TB damaged area must support badger cull
link Badger Trust condemns pre-movement TB testing delays
link Start date for pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB delayed

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