Review of 25-year Bovine Tuberculosis strategy announced
We’re welcoming the announcement of an independent five year review of the UK Government’s 25-year bovine TB control strategy, looking at all the current measures and their effectiveness in England.
The strategy, published four years ago, included measures to reduce Bovine TB which included vaccinations, enhanced biosecurity measures and the culling of badgers.
Today Defra Secretary Michael Gove has said that now is a good time to review progress.
No evidence to support the culling of badgers
There has been no systematic review of how any of the 20 current badger culls have impacted on the incidence of bovine TB, and scientific evidence that culling is effective in reducing bovine TB in high risk areas is still being debated.
We’re very concerned the UK Government is considering an extension of the badger cull to low risk areas ahead of any evidence of the effectiveness of existing culls.
Bovine TB needs to be tackled proactively, but unless further measures are taken to reduce the spread of the disease through better cattle controls, improvements to husbandry, biosecurity and cattle vaccination, the disease situation will not improve.
Badger culling in new areas could spread the disease. We and other animal welfare and veterinary organisations have concerns about the humaneness of permitted killing methods as culling does not differentiate between an infected or healthy badger.
Targeting badgers is a costly distraction - costly to both animal welfare and farmers’ livelihoods.
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