Farming Minister George Eustice announces new measures to tackle devastating disease.

Further measures to tackle bovine TB in England were announced today (30 August 2016) as part of the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the livelihoods of dairy and beef farmers.

Bovine TB costs taxpayers over £100 million every year and England has the highest incidence of the disease in Europe. In 2015 alone over 28,000 cattle had to be slaughtered in England to control the disease, causing devastation and distress for farmers and rural communities, where herds have often been built up on family farms over many generations.

The government’s strategy includes tighter cattle measures, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where the disease is rife. Advice from the Chief Veterinary Officer makes clear that dealing with the disease in both cattle and badgers is essential to tackle the disease effectively. This strategy is already delivering results: we are on track to achieve TB freedom to more than half of the country by 2020—the first time anywhere in England will have this status.

New measures that were outlined include:-

  • A consultation on introducing further cattle measures including more sensitive tests for TB-affected herds in the High Risk Area, and increased surveillance testing for herds in the Edge Area
  • A consultation on introducing further measures for controlling TB in non-bovine animals

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TB strategy ahead of schedule

Government’s strategy to tackle bovine TB continues to deliver results

England is set to apply for Officially TB-Free (OTF) status for more than half of the country next year – two years ahead of schedule – as the Government’s strategy to tackle bovine TB (bTB) continues to deliver results.

Dealing with Bovine TB in England costs taxpayers over £100 million a year, required the culling of 28,000 cattle in 2015 and causes devastation and distress for rural communities.

Gaining OTF status for the low risk area, covering the north and east of England, would boost trade opportunities and mean some herds require less regular TB testing, reducing costs for farmers.

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