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This is the fourth edition of Bovine TB Focus newsletter (December 2016)
In this edition:
The UK continues to have the highest level of bovine TB in the EU but progress is being made, including in the high risk area where control of badgers, combined with cattle controls that enable disease to be found sooner, are expected to slow and eventually reverse the epidemic. We remain on track to achieve officially TB-free status for the low risk area of England within the next two years.
On 28 November, Minister Eustice attended the launch of a new CHeCS TB herd accreditation scheme. The scheme will help members protect their herds and benefit from their efforts when selling their livestock. Speaking at the launch at Two Pools Farm, near Bristol, the Minister said:
We know some 40 per cent of herds in the high-risk area in England have never had a breakdown, and the CHeCS scheme will help them to communicate this so they can carry out risk-based trading to support their businesses. The scheme will also recognize those practicing good biosecurity, which is a core part of our long-term plan to tackle bovine TB.
Visit the CHeCS scheme website for further information
Public Health England (PHE) has recommended that the current moratorium on badger vaccination should continue until supplies of the authorised vaccine become available again and PHE’s orders for use in humans can be met in full. The shortage of vaccine is unfortunate but we are hopeful that supplies will resume in time for badger vaccination to resume from 2018.
Early next year, information on bovine TB ‘breakdowns’ available from ibtb.co.uk will be updated every two weeks instead of four. This improvement will give a more up-to-date picture of the disease situation to cattle keepers, vets and others concerned about local TB risk. Use the online map to see if bovine TB cases have been diagnosed in an area of England or Wales and visit the online bovine TB information hub to access practical advice on how to manage TB risk to your herd.
Read our Epidemiology report: Bovine TB in England in 2015 for in-depth analysis of the TB situation in England.
Defra commissioned ‘XL-Farms Skills Team’ to run a series of on-farm demonstrations of bovine TB biosecurity measures to show how economical and effective these can be.
Click here to find future dates and register attendance at a farm near you
We are always keen to look for new ways to keep bovine TB away from farms. This is why we supported two biosecurity design ‘hacks’ led by Sheffield University which involved farming, veterinary and engineering experts. The sessions identified a number of possible ways of improving disease prevention on farms through better use of data and new technologies. We will be following up the ideas generated by these events.
Our contractors, Improve International, have organised a series of regional workshops to help Official Veterinarians provide advice to their clients on protecting their herds from TB.
Further information on TB farm advice workshops can be found here