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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...

Largest dairy herd in West country (Cornwall) commit bovine TB offences

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In January 2010 the largest dairy herd in the west country, Wills Bros Ltd, was put under movement restrictions following the discovery of an inconclusive reactor on their premises at Pawton Dairy, near Wadebridge, Cornwal during a pre-movement TB test. This restriction should have prevented any unlicensed movements onto or off the premises until a second and negative TB test had been obtained at least 60 days after the initial test. However, Defra vet, Cliff Mitchell, noticed an article and photo in the local paper, The Cornish Guardian, showing the Wills family with show results from the National All-Breeds Show at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. This prompted a joint investigation by Defra vets and Cornwall Council's Trading Standard's animal health team. They discovered a range of errors in the herd's records.

During the investigation it came to light that cattle had been moved between premises run by Wills Bros Ltd without appropriate TB pre-movement testing, in contravention of TB restrictions, without passports being completed and without the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) being informed of the movements.

Also 58 passports were found on the premises for cattle which had died more than seven days previously, the time limit for registering deaths.

In relation to the inconclusive reactor animal, it was discovered that at the time of the pre-movement test it had no official identification, and at the re-test 60 days later the animal was still not identified.

Trading Standards arranged for a DNA test of this pedigree animal and it was found that there was no biological link between it and the animal that was registered as its mother with both the BCMS and Holstein UK, the pedigree society.

John Pascoe, of Cornwall Council's Trading Standards, said: "During the investigation of this case, serious deficiencies in the recording, reporting and monitoring of cattle births and deaths were uncovered. It is vitally important for the farming industry to adhere to these controls, which enable rapid tracing of animal movements. Non compliance, such as those found, can have devastating effects for the whole of the farming industry if a disease situation develops.'' He also said it had not been the first time his inspectors had found problems with cattle passports. They should be returned within seven days of the death of an animal under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007

Investigators from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Cornwall Council Trading Standards found:

· Cattle had been moved between premises run by the dairy without TB pre-movement testing; passports had not been completed;

· 58 cattle passports were found on the premises for cattle which had died more than seven days previously;

· The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) had not been informed; · DNA tests of the suspect animal found no biological link between it and the animal registered as its mother;

· At the re-test 60 days later the animal was still not identified.

In February 2011 Wills Bros pleaded guilty to seven offences under the tuberculosis and cattle identification legislation of 2007, which is part of the Animal Health Act. The company was fined £7,200 and ordered to pay costs of £7,140 at Bodmin Magistrates Court after a report about a prize-winning cow appeared in a local newspaper when the herd was under a disease movement restriction order

The only comment we have found on the case comes from the Badger Trust. Patricia Hayden, Vice Chairman of the Badger Trust, said: “These offences were committed in the heart of a major bTB hotspot. They risked the health of prime stock at a major cattle show and the wellbeing of pedigree herds and farm businesses all over the country. The discovery of so many passports overdue for return to the British Cattle Movement Service also raises serious questions about the reliability of the system. Transparency is crucial when bovine tuberculosis is causing serious economic harm to farm businesses.

“If other cattle at the show had been infected, unthinking advocates of culling badgers would have been quick to claim their case had been proved. As it is, many farmers in Cornwall could yet be licensed to shoot badgers in the mistaken belief that it will help to eradicate the disease.

“We have been warning the industry for almost 30 years about the danger of moving untested cattle and we have welcomed the belated controls of the last five years. As happened 50 years ago those controls now seem to be succeeding [1] without killing any badgers.”

In June 2011 came the news that Wills Brothers Limited have been banned from showing for six months after they pleaded guilty to the charges of breaching Bovine TB movement restrictions. The decision was made by Holstein UK following a meeting of its Rules Committee in May. The six-month ban, started on June 3 and bans them from competing in this summer’s biggest shows including the Dairy Event and Livestock Show in September. Holstein UK has also requested that Willsbros also pay back all the costs associated with the case and the disciplinary action.

Ref 1 An extrapolation of Defra’s January to September 2010 provisional statistics shows a steady decline over two consecutive years in England from the high point of 38,973 cattle slaughtered in 2008 to an (estimated) 33,000 by the end of 2010 – without killing badgers or any other wildlife. This would be even faster than the decline in the 1960s.

Information from:

www.thisisdevon.co.uk/farming/Dairy-firm-fined-record-faults/article-3245575-detail/article.html www.southwestbusiness.co.uk/agriculture/Dairy-firm-fined-record-faults/article-3245575-detail/article.html www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/news/Dairy-firm-fined-record-faults/article-3245575-detail/article.html

Press Release from Badger Trust dated 23 February 2011


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