Industry Unites Against Bovine TB

UK - Eradicate bovine TB – this is the call to Government from an industry-wide stakeholder group that has joined forces and vowed to do everything in its power to stamp out the disease which is seeing upwards of 28,000 cattle a year culled.
calendar icon 24 July 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

The industry stakeholder group has put its name to an eight-point statement of agreement following the non-decision announced by the Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, on dealing with bTB.

Included in the eight points is a call for an independent body to take on the future decision making for animal health; a commitment of non-participation in the TB Partnership Group as announced by the Secretary of State; and an industry policy of non-participation in discussions on cost sharing and responsibility on animal health and welfare issues.

The NFU, which hosted the stakeholder meeting, has been heartened by a report, also out today, from the Efra select committee on badgers and cattle TB which says the Government is playing down the serious nature of bovine TB. In its response the committee, chaired by the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP, says:

  • there is little in the Government’s strategy to tackle the disease in the short term and this is not good enough;
  • the Government is opting out of leadership on the issue and subcontracting important decisions with high cost implications to the Bovine TB Partnership Group;
  • the Government has chosen to put all its eggs in one basket by focusing its energies and funding on the long-term goal of developing cattle and badger vaccines when it is unlikely a badger vaccine will be available before 2014 and a cattle vaccine before 2015.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: “The industry feels let down and angered by the Government’s abdication of responsibility around this devastating disease. We have been left with no choice but to walk away from any attempt by Government to validate their ‘policy’ decision and pass responsibility for controlling this disease to the already beleaguered cattle sector.

“The Efra committee’s report reinforces both the fact that the Government has made the wrong decision and the need for something to be done now rather than waiting for vaccines to become available years down the line which will be too late for many farmers whose businesses are being decimated by this disease.

“The Efra report recognises the value of the VLA9 culling proposal put together by the NFU and other industry bodies for the South West of England. Hilary Benn has been invited to meet the people involved with VLA9 but has declined to do so which, given the hard work that has been put in on the plan, is very disappointing.”

Further Reading

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