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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...
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...

Dairy Herd

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For those farmers that suffer continual breakdowns but where bTB is not confirmed, the stress can be intolerable and persistent over months and even years. One such dairy farm, run by a couple and their son, has suffered breakdowns regularly over the last few years. None of these breakdowns have been confirmed and each incident has only involved the odd reactor or inconclusive reactor. Most of the cattle are Friesians. Bovine TB has not been confirmed and each time there have been no signs of lesions on slaughter and the tissue culture has been negative (liver fluke has been evident in the slaughtered animals). However, despite the fact that bTB has never been confirmed, the existing programme insists on movement restrictions that have caused ongoing financial problems for the business and severe and persistent stress for the families involved. Additional housing has had to be found for cattle and calves as these were not able to be moved or sold and additional feed has been required. More labour has been needed to accommodate the time consuming testing process.

The herd has had to undergo frequent testing and each time this takes up significant time with the associated stress for the cattle and disruption of the milking system. The stress is such that the day after each test the milk yield is claimed to be reduced.

Whilst compensation is paid for each cow slaughtered under the programme, this has been at the lower end of the scale and it has been found that when replacements are bought the price is higher as a result of a shortage of animals. It has also been necessary to rent additional land and buildings in order to keep the calves and young stock which could not be moved because of the movement restrictions in place. Extra feed has been needed too. More labour has been needed. This has added to the costs.

Whilst the last two tests have been clear and the movement restrictions lifted the testing interval is six monthly. The family are dreading the next test as they never know when an inconclusive may show up again and with it all the same old problems. It is a continual source of strain and worry for the whole family who have not only suffered financially but have also had to endure health problems, with one member suffering bouts of severe and prolonged depression.

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