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Defra Make Little Progress in Halting Bovine TB

14 July 2009

UK - The latest Public Accounts Committee report has said that enforcement measures taken by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to prevent the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis are not good enough.

According to the report, Bovine Tuberculosis has a major foothold in England and Wales, particularly in the South West. Between 2002 and 2007, an average of 16,500 cattle were slaughtered each year as a result of the disease.

"The Department is not enforcing the cattle testing regime rigorously," said the report. "The reservoir of disease in wild animal populations is thought to play a significant, although unquantifiable, role in disease incidence, but more rigorous bio-security measures might help to limit the impact."

"The Department has made little progress in setting out recognised standards for bio-security and in sharing the costs of tackling disease with those farmers who do not maintain proper farm bio-security or who fail to practise good animal husbandry. This is despite recommendations arising from our examination of the Department’s handling of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2001. Working more openly and effectively with farmers and local veterinarians, for example, by sharing farm level risk assessments, might help to limit incidence of notifiable disease."

The incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis continues to increase, and the actions by the Department to tackle this issue cost £80 million in 2007–08.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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