Bovine tuberculosis

What is Bovine TB?

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is an infectious disease of cattle. It's caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) which can also infect and cause disease in many other mammals including badgers.

It's a devastating disease, and causes grief to so many, particularly within the farming community. Some believe that badgers play a large part in the spread of bovine TB amongst cattle. As a result, large numbers of badgers have died in culling - especially in the past 50 years.

Bovine TB in cattle

We don't support the badger cull and believe that more can be done to tackle the disease in cattle. We believe there are solutions that will benefit farmers, cattle and badgers.

We're pleased with the conclusion of the Godfray review published in 2018, stating that the focus of policy on the badger had taken attention away from how to better manage the disease in cattle.

We've produced a report - Bovine TB: not everything is black and white (PDF 5.62MB) - part in response to Godfray, but partly on our own initiative. The report explains why we're against the badger cull and proposes a number of recommendations on how to improve the situation with regards to cattle and farmers. After all, this is a disease of cattle.

Our bovine TB consultation

In 2019, we asked for your views on our proposals, as set out in our Bovine TB consultation document (PDF 168KB). This gives a brief summary of our proposals, but the detail behind them can be found in the report mentioned above. The report summarising the results of the consultation, Ruminations on bovine tuberculosis, can be downloaded from here.

Ruminations on Bovine TB 2021 (PDF 1.13MB)

We're asking for farmers to input on our proposals

We'd like to work with farmers in developing management strategies for bovine TB on their farms, using some of the ideas discussed in our proposals.

If you would like to talk to us more about this, please:

  • email
  • write to Bovine TB Team, Science Group RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex, RH13 9RS.
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