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Stackyard News Mar 06

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Badger Trust welcomes pre-movement testing, but more must be done

The Badger Trust has welcomed the introduction of pre-movement TB testing for cattle in England today, but argues that more can still be done to bring the disease under effective control.

"The scientific evidence shows that cattle movements substantially and consistently outweigh all other factors for predicting the spread of bovine TB. Even animal welfare Minister, Ben Bradshaw, has admitted that 80 per cent of TB is spread from cattle to cattle," said Badger Trust spokesman, Trevor Lawson. "If properly enforced and regulated, pre-movement testing will begin to reverse the spread of the disease.

"However, more must be done. Success in Ireland and in Scotland shows that post-movement testing is also vital. The skin test can miss up to one in three infected animals, so a second test helps to remove infected stock missed the first time around. In addition, in problem herds the Government must introduce the gamma interferon TB test, which identifies and removes the hidden infection that is missed by the skin test. Gamma interferon is already in effective use across the rest of Europe, Australasia and the United States but here, the Government continues to prevaricate over its use."

Mr Lawson criticised the National Farmers Union and Livestock Auctioneers Association for calling for further delays to the introduction of pre-movement testing. "We support the NFU in calling for the Government to pay for pre-movement testing. But in arguing for a delay, the NFU and the LAA are showing their true colours. We often hear the NFU claiming that farmers are doing all they can to control TB, yet here we have the industry trying to obstruct the most vital of TB control measures, safe in the knowledge that tax payers will pick up the compensation bill. It is grossly irresponsible and will only serve to deepen the public's growing distrust of the farming industry."

link Pre-movement TB testing to pile on agony for farmers and markets
link Defra challenged to produce sound TB science
link RABDF call for humane badger culling

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