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A 33 year old farmer and father of two in Shrophsire was killed by a bull as he tested cattle for bTB. He was conducting routine bTB testing on cows at Ashwood Farm in Whitchurch on 3 December 2013 when he was fatally injured by a bull  read more...read more...
There is such a focus on badgers that the fact that bovine TB is a cattle based problem has been set on one side. History has shown us that the incidence of TB in cattle can be brought down to a very low level by cattle based measures alone. Add to this the vaccination of badgers in hot spot areas and even their implication can be dealt with.  read more...read more...
Looking at some of the anti cull websites and having kept a close eye on media reports during the trial culls that have recently finished in Gloucestershire and Somerset, it would seem that if the culling is rolled out into other areas the level of opposition is not going to get less and could even worsen, meaning that policing costs alone (paid for from public funds) are going to be exorbitant.  read more...read more...
This article is a summary of the significant legal proceedings relating to incidents re cattle and bovine TB.  read more...read more...
In this well researched article by Mike Rendle he poses this question: 'Are badger infections following, not leading, bovine TB infections in cattle? ' and discovers some very interesting facts about cattle, badgers and bovine TB.  read more...read more...
Bovine TB - the views of a farmer based on field-based observations over many years. Peter Aspin was a herdsman, then a dairy farmer. He is now a beef farmer and also has a contract rearing dairy heifers for a local farmer. He was conventional and is now organic. He also run the Shropshire Agroforestry Project. All on 40 acres. To understand bovine TB one must first understand how significantly livestock husbandry practices have changed in recent years. I was on a dairy farm a couple of years ago - a closed herd (one that reared all its own replacement youngstock) - which had had its first bTB breakdown. Two veterinarians had arrived to do the follow-up sixty day retest. Talking to them I asked what they thought was the source of the problem. Their immediate response was that the adjacent dairy farm had purchased imported cattle the previous year, this herd had subsequently developed bTB and passed the infection either directly or via a vector to the neighbouring herd. Whether the imported cattle were themselves carriers of bTB or whether they had no immunity, I do not know and I assumed the vets did not know but the issue of cattle importation is a major concern for both farmers and vets. Ever increasing numbers of dairy cattle are being imported simply because they are cheaper if large enough numbers are purchased. I know of a herd of over two thousand dairy cows where not a single replacement animal is home-reared, every single one arrives on a lorry from mainland Europe.  read more...read more...
Dairy farm worker, Steve Jones, is not happy about the future of the dairy industry, or the current policy to cull badgers. The industry has many problems. Bovine tuberculosis is just one.'The cattle industry is long overdue for reform', he says. Here he sets out his comments.  read more...read more...
Farmers break law in bovine TB hot spot area. Mother and daughter Kathleen Wallis, 61, and Sarah Wallis, 23, of Appleton Farm, at Wick St Lawrence, near Weston-super-Mare, admitted 18 counts of providing false information as to the location of a number of their cattle when they appeared before Bristol Crown Court. The farmers admitted to failing to adhere to cattle disease control laws and were branded "ignorant, rotten and cruel" by a judge.  read more...read more...
A Tewkesbury farmer has been fined after selling milk from cattle with bTB. The cattle which had tested positive for TB but the farmer, Timothy Juckes, refused to believe the cows had the disease. He sent four cows without the disease to the slaughterhouse instead of the infected animals, Gloucester Crown Court heard on 28th June 2013. He then took compensation from Defra for the livestock, which should have been destroyed.  read more...read more...
The existing bTB policy has claimed another life. Tragically in January 2013 David Stephens, a 55-year old dairy farmer was killed on his farm in Llandyfaelog, near Kidwelly, Pembrokeshire by a bull whilst he was involved in testing his cattle for TB. Mr Stephens was trying to put a bull in a head restraint to be tested for TB. This is a familiar situation for all of those who have been involved in bTB testing and it can be really hazardous when an animal is being difficult. He died after the animal head butted him in the chest.  read more...read more...

Farmers want vaccination for their cattle, not badger culls.

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Another tragic case about the bTB breakdowns at a farm in North Devon. The farmers involved want to be able to vaccinate their cattle against bTB. It was reported in This is Devon (www.thisisdevon.co.uk/Badger-cull-pilots-waste-time-money-effort/story-17134043-detail/story.html).

Despite losing more than half their valuable organic herd of beef cattle, a Devon farming partnership is against the badger cull.

Robert James and Kate Palmer think the pilot culls in West Somerset and around Tewkesbury are a waste of time, money and effort.

"If you cull badgers in one place, within months other badgers will come back in. Then what will happen? It will not stop TB," said Robert James, who farms more than 100 acres of organic land at Witheridge, in North Devon.

He and his partner, Kate Palmer, have seen their valuable herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle decimated by bovine TB and they are well aware of the part badgers can play in spreading disease, which caused the deaths of 26,000 cattle nationally last year.

The partnership at West Yeo Farm had 30 cows, plus their calves earlier this year, but the herd is now reduced to just 20, after cattle failed TB tests.

Highly distressing was the fact that several were found not to have TB at post mortem but most tragic of all was the loss of the award-winning stock bull.

Mr James explained: "We have lost half our herd of pedigree Devon cattle to TB this year. Our bloodlines go back 70 years and cannot be replaced."

Eighty-five per cent of Ruby Red bloodlines were now crossed with Saler cattle and he has been unable to replace the lost animals with purebred Devons, he said.

Now the partners are petitioning the Government to get on with the development of an effective TB vaccine for cattle without delay and pay realistic compensation for the loss of organic cattle, instead of a flat rate.

Mr James added: "We have lost over 15,000, as the Government does not pay organic market prices in compensation. We had four cows killed that did not have TB."

But the loss of the stock bull was worse. Mr James explained: "At 14,000 he was the highest-priced Devon bull at auction in the UK. I cried when I had to load him. Kate could not be there because she was so upset. We were so proud when we bought him in spring 2008 at the Ruby Red Devon Society sale at Sedgemoor Market and he was champion on the day, bred by the Dart family at Molland on Exmoor. We have sold semen from him all over the world. Now he is just 660 kilos of dead meat hanging on a hook."

But still he opposes the cull. "I feel very passionately about this. I have a friend who farms on Exmoor whose herd has gone down with TB, without a badger on the farm and with no new stock bought in. The answer was TB in the wild red deer population."

He added: "The Government has to get on with a vaccine that works."

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