7 February 2014
Farmers affected by floods, together with those in coastal areas of the South West of England, could face yet another menace – an increase in bovine TB (bTB). The region already contains many bTB hotspots, and the Government must take immediate action to prevent a new epidemic caused by unavoidable movements of cattle and other animals, says the Badger Trust. There must also be continuing testing and an uncompromising ban on backlogs.
Testing was suspended during the foot and mouth epidemic 13 years ago, followed by restocking on a massive scale. Much of this was with cattle from the South West where the bTB was more prevalent, and there was no testing before movement. The number of cattle slaughtered because of bTB rose almost eightfold from 5,200 in 2001 to 39,973 in 2008.
The Government must protect farmers from a further and foreseeable disaster now.