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Knepp Estate, longhorn herd  read more...read more...
A dairy farmer has been fined for chaotic record keeping that may have contributed to the spread of bovine tuberculosis on his premises.  read more...read more...
A young lad is forced to slaughter his pet cow because of the current bovine TB policy.  read more...read more...
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...

TB or not TB: that is the question

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April 9, 2020, feels like the end of a long and painful journey. We finished TB-testing our old English longhorns and we’re almost literally jumping for joy. All the cattle are clear and we’re now back to four-yearly testing – the normal procedure for low risk TB areas in the UK. It’s not a particularly serious disease for the cattle, at least in the short-term. They can live with it for quite a while without adverse effects, though it is a progressive disease so the older the animal (which isn’t that old in the conventional meat and dairy industry) and the longer it has had it, the more likely it is to experience unpleasant symptoms. The main reason for culling all TB-infected cattle, or even those suspected of having it, is to try to eradicate the disease entirely. Discovering TB in your herd strikes dread into the heart of any farmer. So it was with horror that, three years ago, we were notified by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) that a cow had reacted positively to TB on a farm a stone’s throw from Knepp. When this happens APHA draw a three-kilometre circle around the farm in question and any holding that falls within that zone – even if it’s just a corner of a field - has to test all their cattle. We were stunned. Our part of West Sussex has long been TB free. Most dairy farms in our area have closed herds, breeding their own replacements. But with the spring flush of grass many farmers and landowners see an opportunity to import beef animals to graze their land, fattening them up – or ‘finishing’ them – for market. They contact local dealers who organise the transport of store cattle from markets at Salisbury, Exeter and Frome. Those defending the trade argue that animals leaving the West Country will have been compulsorily tested for TB. But the test, which involves injecting two types of tuberculin serum into the neck skin to elicit an inflammatory response in an infected animal, is not infallible. Research estimates that 25-50% of recurrent TB breakdowns are due to infected cattle not being detected by the skin test. Inevitably, TB-infected animals slip through the net and enter the live markets. And the infection can be spread in other ways – on the wheel arches of livestock lorries or even the traders’ wellington boots. This high-risk trade in cattle from the West Country not only threatens the livelihood of responsible dairy and beef farmers in low-risk areas like ours, but it could risk the disease spilling out into badgers and deer, which could ultimately involve a wildlife cull - something that particularly concerns us at Knepp, being primarily a nature conservation project. The above is just extracts from this very interesting blog at: https://knepp.co.uk/new-blog/2020/4/16/tb-or-not-tb-that-is-the-question

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