05 March 2015 | Online since 2003



38,000 cattle slaughtered to combat TB in 2012


In 2012, the spread of bovine TB led to the slaughter of 38,010 cattle in Great Britain, a 10% increase compared to 2011, according to new statistics published today.

The published results highlight the growing impact of the disease on the UK dairy and beef industry and emphasise the 'need to take urgent action to reduce the spread of TB', the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

"Bovine TB continues to spread at an unacceptable rate, leading to the slaughter of thousands of cattle and ongoing misery for our dairy farmers" Farming Minister David Heath said.

"What was once confined to a small area of the south west has the potential to become a national crisis and if left unchecked could cost the taxpayer £1 billion over the next ten years. We cannot afford to sit back and let this happen, which is why we are doing everything we can to get on top of this dreadful disease."

Today's new figures come despite increased cattle controls, additional pre-movement testing and stricter on-farm biosecurity measures which were introduced in July last year.

More new tough on-farm rules were also introduced in January 2013 as part of the Government's TB eradication plan which aims to tackle all aspects of TB infection in the countryside.

Carl Padgett, past President of the British Veterinary Association said: "The figures remind us that urgent action is required to help us get on top of this disease."

"We need to ensure compliance amongst farmers with the tougher cattle control measures, a strong push from the Government on cattle and badger vaccination, and support for measures to tackle the disease in badgers through piloting a targeted, humane cull."

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson confirmed two badger cull schemes are to go ahead in the summer to tackle the spread of TB among cattle.

Paterson said: "Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry."

NFU President Peter Kendall said today's figures 'hammer home the fact that TB is out of control.'

"TB is one of the largest threats facing our beef and dairy farmers" he said.

"In 1998 we had 6,000 cattle with TB in the whole of Great Britain. From today we see that by the end of 2012 this figure has jumped to 38,010 - 28,284 in England alone."

"This means we have seen almost ten per cent more cattle culled in Great Britain, and a seven per cent increase in England, because of TB since 2011. And it is not just in endemic areas, TB is creeping into new areas like the North and East Midlands, Cheshire and the South East. This has to stop."

The Farmers' Union of Wales said 'huge damage' was being done to cattle herds as a result of a massive rise in the badger population.

"These researchers have quite rightly highlighted the damaging impact that an expanded deer population in some parts of the UK is having on woodlands, and the knock-on effect on other animals such as woodland birds" said FUW president Emyr Jones who was speaking after a recent council meeting.

A recent study by the University of East Anglia warned that wildlife and the environment could suffer as the UK's deer population increases. Jones said people 'must have the backbone' to apply the same logic to badgers.

"Generally deer are not a major problem in most of Wales, but we have a badger population which has grown to unbelievable levels since the 1970s, and badgers are now found living and foraging on mountains and moorland at heights of over 1000ft above sea level – well away from their traditional woodland habitats.

"Some farms have seen at least a five-fold increase, and it is pretty obvious that five times more badgers need five times as much food. They don’t get that food from the local supermarket; a large proportion of their diet is made up of other animals."

Other key figures published today show:

The number of TB tests carried out in 2012 in England was 5,849,498, up from 5,493,311 in 2011. This reflects the increased testing being undertaken to monitor the spread of the disease.

The number of new TB incidents in herds was 3,941 – an increase of 5% from 2011 (3763 incidents)

In 2011 26,480 cattle were slaughtered in England as a result of TB.

But recent research conducted by Durham University claimed a widespread badger cull will have no impact in solving the problem of tuberculosis in cattle.

Professor Peter Atkins, from Durham University's Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience investigated the spread of the disease.

"Badgers almost certainly play a part in spreading the disease, but my conclusion is that their impact over the decades has been far less than suggested" said Atkins.

"Very carefully arranged culling may have a part to play alongside other measures in areas of particular prevalence such as South West England and South Wales, but my research suggests that extending the policy elsewhere may neither be justified nor particularly effective. It certainly won't be a panacea."

Download



Comments


13-03-2013 14:54 PM | Posted by: Clued-Up
Jones and the FUW seem to believe that presenting several facts (eg increased numbers of cattle bTB tested and found to be reactors) together with unproven assumptions about badgers proves badgers cause cattle bTB. They are either unable or unwilling to think scientifically ...

With the new more rigorous, better enforced cattle management controls, you test more cattle (in larger herds) and you test them more often. Unsurprisingly you pick up more cattle bTB cases.

There is NO evidence about which way round bTB transmission works between the species.

We know cattle to cattle transmisssion happens (that's been demonstrated in a properly controlled experiment).

We know that cattle bTB exists in areas where THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO BADGERS.

We know that the percentage of badgers infected with bTB is very small, the percentage of badgers which are infectious (ie capable of infecting other animals) is even smaller.

We know from the epidemiological data that peaks and troughs in the amount of cattle bTB follow what happens as regards the movement of cattle (eg a peak after F & M when cattle from bTB hotspots were used to re-stock clean areas).

Take the above sets of facts together and you can be pretty sure that badgers are almost irrelevant to cattle bTB and the problem to focus on is how you MANAGE CATTLE to kill off bTB.

Personally, I've never understood why farmers haven't been chasing DEFRA much harder to get on with the UK trials of the cattle bTB vaccine and with negotiating a deal with the EU that would allow them to use it.


To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


12 February 2015
Citrix Consultant- 9 months+ Home Counties - Up to £525 per day
Following someone going on long term sick leave my client now have an urgent need for an experienced contractor to join the b...

12 February 2015
HR Coordinator - Maidenhead
Provide daily ad-hoc administrative support to the Business Unit Director and HR Managers e.g. filtering calls, typing letter...

16 February 2015
CNC Miller / Turner: Kilmarnock - £10.00 - £13.00 per hour
Operating within energy, Rail, Defence, Food Processing, Textile Manufacturing, Local Authority, Health Boards, Environmental...

25 February 2015
Solicitor or Barrister - Regulatory, Public and Commercial Disputes
The firm has a strong sector focus with expertise in agriculture, charities, education, food and beverage, health, insurance,...

24 February 2015
AGRICULTURAL SOLICITOR - Bristol
There will also be the opportunity for occasional travel to work with their agriculture team based in Exeter. Agricultural So...




Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...


29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...


23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...


23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...


22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...


16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...


16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...


14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...


12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...


8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...