The need for the governments continued bovine tuberculosis (bTB) , has been stressed by the National Farmers Union (NFU) on Wednesday, Septmber 25 to continue the eradication strategy to be based on sound scientific evidence.

It took place at a meeting with the minister for state of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Rt Hon Lord Benyon.

This was called after a scientific demonstration which took place a month ago, examining of the effectiveness of badger culling inclusion as part of a holistic plan to aid eradicate bTB from England.

According to the British Veterinary Association (BVA) bTB is one of the UK’s most difficult animal health issues, with control measures costing the livestock industry and government millions of pounds a year.

It is a major challenge facing large parts of the UK cattle farming industry today and as well as cattle, the disease can also affect badgers, deer, camelids, pigs, goats, dogs and cats.

Further evidence is shown from The Birch review that bTB can be reduced in herds by 56% in cases where there have been four years of culling, and which follows the independent Godfray review, advocating wildfire control as a significant part of the existing eradication strategy.

The deputy president of NFU, Tom Bradshaw speaking on the matter said :

“The emotional, mental, and financial strain caused by this terrible disease is enormous… The current strategy, which includes wildlife control, is based on scientific research that shows a significant reduction of bTB in cattle.”

He added that the Birch review paper is a “strategy that is working” and which is why they were concerned to hear reports that Shadow Farming Minister Daniel Zeichner says a Labour government will exclude culling within its strategy to make England bTB free.

“We have a joint ambition with government to be bTB free in England by 2038

“Cattle vaccination trials are underway, and a workable vaccine for cattle would be a significant tool to have as part of a range of
measures to control bTB, if proved successful in the field,” he added.