About bovine TB
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The Government is committed to implementing a 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in England. The strategy was published in 2014 and includes tighter cattle measures, vaccination and badger culling.
As part of the strategy there are three management areas in England, reflecting regional variations in the epidemiology of the disease: the High Risk Area (HRA); the Edge Area; and the Low Risk Area (LRA). The long-term objective is to achieve Officially bTB Free (OTF) status for the whole of England, with an interim objective of securing OTF for the LRA and the lowest prevalence counties in the Edge Area. To achieve this, disease control is constructed around controlling all routes of transmission of the disease, cattle-cattle, cattle-badger, badger-badger and badger-cattle as well as spill-over into other susceptible species.
The Government’s approach includes a range of disease surveillance and control interventions, both statutory and non-statutory.
Current statutory controls include continuous surveillance for disease within cattle herds and at slaughter, pre-movement testing, removal of bTB test reactors and other cattle suspected of being infected with bTB from the national herd, and additional measures in bTB breakdown herds such as movement restrictions, and more sensitive tests to increase the chances of removing infection from affected herds and to reduce the probability of spread between herds.
Non-statutory controls comprise a range of measures designed to reduce the likelihood of introducing infection into cattle herds. These include: the risk-based trading scheme introduced in 2013 in response to the recommendations of an industry-led Risk-Based Trading Group to enable farmers to better understand and act on the risk of introducing disease when buying cattle; post-movement testing; biosecurity measures on farms against both cattle-cattle and badger-cattle transmission; reduction in badger populations where bTB is rife; and the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme to promote injectable vaccination of badgers against bTB in the Edge Area.