George Eustice MP has announced new measures to tackle bovine TB in England

Published 30 August 16

Today Farming Minister George Eustice MP has announced new measures to tackle bovine TB in England as part of the Government’s 25 year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the livelihoods of dairy and beef farmers.

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 has made clear that dealing with the disease in both cattle and badgers is essential to tackle the disease effectively. The Government hopes the strategy will allow them 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 outlined today 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

Following the announcement George Eustice Stated:

“Our comprehensive strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England is delivering results, with more than half the country on track to be free of the disease by the end of this Parliament.

Bovine TB has a devastating impact on farms, which is why we are taking strong action to eradicate the disease, including tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity and badger control measures in areas where the disease is rife.

The veterinary advice and the experience of other countries is clear—we will not be able to eradicate this disease unless we also tackle the reservoir of the disease in the badger population as well as cattle.”

Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens said:

“Action to prevent infection of cattle from significant reservoirs of TB infection in local badger populations is an essential part of the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England.

Proactive badger control is currently the best available option and the licensing of further areas is necessary to realise disease control benefits at regional rather than at local levels.”