UK - New tools and advice to help farmers protect their herds from TB have been unveiled as part of a new campaign to help eradicate bovine TB, Farming Minister George Eustice has announced.
The campaign involves a new website, www.TBhub.co.uk, where all advice on bovine TB from government, farming experts, leading vets and agricultural colleges is now available.
British beef and dairy farmers can find practical advice on the website for dealing with bovine TB on their farm, covering everything from biosecurity measures to understanding trading rules.
The cross-industry campaign will also promote a new Bovine TB Biosecurity Five Point Plan to improve disease prevention on farm and in the cattle trade.
The five recommended action points are:
- Restrict contact between badgers & cattle;
- Manage cattle feed and water;
- Stop infected cattle entering the herd;
- Reduce risk from neighbouring herds;
- Minimise infection from cattle manure.
From the end of November, reminder posters featuring the action points will be on display in Animal and Plant Health Agency offices, vet surgeries and cattle auction marts. Copies will be sent to farmers around the country, together with regular surveys to track progress.
Speaking at Hartpury College, Farming Minister George Eustice said: "We are making good progress in eradicating TB from England through our 25-year strategy - reducing the risk of disease entering a farm is a crucial element if we are to end the devastation it causes for farmers and rural communities.
"There are simple and practical ways for farmers to reduce risk to their herds and neighbouring businesses from bovine TB which are set out in this new action plan approved by vets and farming experts.
"I encourage all cattle farmers to visit the new TB hub and think about the actions they could take to make a difference to improving the security of their herd - with outbreaks often costing thousands of pounds, it makes sense to take action now."
Neil Blake, President of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, said: "Bovine TB is a hugely challenging and emotive issue for farmers. As vets we are witness to the herd health, emotional and financial impacts on a daily basis.
"Biosecurity and risk based trading are important in the management of all infectious diseases whether that is BVD, Johne’s disease or bovine TB. These new initiatives are an important part of the 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB."
Last year, over 3,000 farms were affected by new breakdowns of TB in England, with each breakdown costing an estimated £20,000 to the taxpayer and over £10,000 to farmers. An estimated 50 per cent of breakdowns in low risk areas are caused by purchased animals.
The campaign is run by Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the National Farmers’ Union, the British Cattle Veterinary Association and Landex.
TheCattleSite News Desk