Further measures to eradicate bovine TB in UK
Further measures are part of the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the livelihoods of dairy and beef farmers.
Bovine TB costs taxpayers over £100 million every year and England has the highest incidence of the disease in Europe.
In 2015 alone over 28,000 cattle had to be slaughtered in England to control the disease, causing devastation and distress for farmers and rural communities, where herds have often been built up on family farms over many generations.
The government’s strategy includes tighter cattle measures, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where the disease is rife. Advice from the Chief Veterinary Officer makes clear that dealing with the disease in both cattle and badgers is essential to tackle the disease effectively.
This strategy is already delivering results: we are on track to achieve TB freedom to more than half of the country by 2020—the first time anywhere in England will have this status.
New measures include:
- Seven additional licences for badger control measures covering parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, with operations now underway.
- A consultation on introducing further cattle measures including more sensitive tests for TB-affected herds in the High Risk Area, and increased surveillance testing for herds in the Edge Area.
- A call for views on a more risk-based approach to TB testing of cattle herds in the High Risk Area.
- New farm advice packs to help farmers affected by bovine TB to improve the effectiveness of biosecurity measures on their farm.
- An updated online tool mapping the location of bovine TB incidents over the last five years to allow farmers to make informed decisions when buying livestock.
- A consultation on introducing further measures for controlling TB in non-bovine animals. ■