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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...

The real cost to farmers of achieving bTB free status abroad - Minnesota

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Abroad too the push is on for many countries who strive for TB free status, seemingly at any cost. Most of these countries completely de-populate herds found to have any evidence of bTB. Northern Minnesota is one example. The state was split as only part had TB free status - not a popular decision. Northern Minnesota is expected to receive this coveted title after being moved to Modified Accredited Advanced status this year (2010). The changes bring the state one step closer to being entirely TB-Free. For the farmers involved, it is a very hard, long and stressful process. This is the story of just one of those farmers involved.

For one farmer, Skime, it has been a very difficult process. His cull cow was the first to have a suspect test for bovine TB at a Green Bay, Wis., packing plant in 2005. His entire herd was tested and another 22 animals tested suspect for the disease. Skime, an Arctic Cat engineer in Thief River Falls, was visited by Hartmann and USDA area veterinarian Mike Stine to discuss the test results. They said it would be best to depopulate the herd. He said 'no'.

"There had to be another way, I told them," Skime said. "I had developed that herd since 1981. I knew each sire and dam and how they were producing". His detailed records included breeding, herd health and index information. His Tarentaise and Angus cattle produced quality meat.

Skime proposed killing only suspect cows, but the veterinarians explained the state could lose its TB-Free status. Obviously that would not be popular with other cattlemen and the disease could persist.He knew his only option was to send the animals to slaughter. More bad luck arrived his cattle had also contracted anthrax while on pasture. His herd had to be vaccinated against the disease while shipping arrangements were made.

In September 2005, the ranch's yard was filled with cattle trucks, workers and state agency representatives. A lone cowboy chose to gather the cattle one last time. Skime moved through the pastures, heading the cattle to the yard. There others helped load cattle on the trucks as BAH and USDA officials sealed the loads. They shipped 1,172 animals including 600 cows.

The ranch, once filled with people and trucks, was empty when the last truck rolled away. Skime and his wife, Bernice, stood alone and he cried.

Another 11 herds were depopulated in an area called the Management Zone. The 12 herds received federal indemnity money. In the Modified Accredited Status Zone, 46 out of 67 herds were depopulated using state funding. One of those producers who depopulated was Tim Schultz, who now works for the BAH as an ag specialist. He is part of the testing team working with herds in the area.

Skime followed state and federal requirements to repopulate his ranch. All manure was cleaned from the barns. He disinfected barns, feeders and waterers. And, after 30 days, he started to rebuild the herd.Like others, he's followed guidelines for fencing around feed storage and feeding areas. He has high fencing around pastures to keep deer away. Skime has developed new protocols. Cattle brought to the ranch must have a negative TB test, he said. Skime doesn't sell cattle to neighbours or other cattle producers.

Skime continues his breeding program with Tarentaise and Angus. And he has a new herdsman, Thor Vettleson. Vettleson began working for Skime three years ago. He has a degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota Crookston. Ironically one of his research papers at Crookston focussed on bovine TB. He's learned more about the disease from Skime.

Bill Hartmann, Minnesota Board of Animal Health executive director and state veterinarian recalls the public meetings where the split state status for Minnesota was first discussed. The discussions were filled with emotion. "Some of the things weren't reversible," Hartmann said. "But I think the people have been willing to make those sacrifices. It's been a long battle. It's been five years and we are now seeing success." One wonders, though for how long and at what price for those involved?

With thanks to Carol Stender for her story in AgriNews (10/7/10) at http://www.agrinews.com/beef/producer/skime/rebounds/from/herd/depopulation/story-2961.html

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