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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...

Vet suspended after failing to comply with official TB testing procedures

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We know from speaking to many farmers and from the case studies we have on this site that there are widespread differences into how test operatives, whether private vets or Animal Health staff, carry out the skin test. The test, even if performed with strict adherence to the official procedures, is not perfect and even Defra admits this. However, it is even more unreliable if the procedures are not correctly performed. The correct procedure involves careful measurement of the skin folds to the nearest millimetre before and after injecting animals at two sites in the neck, before and 72 hours after injecting tuberculin into the areas, which should be shaved first. Some testers, keen to get the testing done as quickly as possible, are not as thorough as others. Cattle that are difficult to handle also pose problems for testers.

An Aberaeron vet apparently wrongly diagnosed a cow with bovine tuberculosis. A hearing heard that this left the farmer unable to sell on any of her herd. It is alleged that the vet ignored official guidelines when inspecting and testing a herd of around 100 cattle at Plas Pantsaeson, Moylegrove, Pembrokeshire in 2009. The vet concerned was Wyn Lewis of Derwydd, Felinwynt and he was involved in a disciplinary hearing of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The 56-year-old vet works for Priory Veterinary in Aberaeron and Cardigan. He denied failing to carry out accurate checks for bovine TB and submitting paperwork which reported he had done so. He was hired by the agency, Animal Health, to carry out tests on 104 animals, but allegedly simply glanced at some and used his thumb and forefinger to measure others instead of using proper instruments. Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons prosecutor Nicole Curtis said Lewis was hired by the Agency Animal Health to undertake tests and ought to have known that by failing to measure folds some or all of the records entered on the certificate were false and he was inaccurate in his certification. The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday, July 19 2011.

On 19 July the decision of the RCVS was to suspend him for five months (bearing in mind he had been on suspension in the meantime for three months. The disciplinary committee's decisions on facts, misconduct and sanction can be read in full at http://www.rcvs.org.uk/complaints/disciplinary-hearings, including the full details of the case.

According to the cull opposition group, Pembrokeshire Against the Cull (PAC), the vet concerned, Wyn Lewis, apparently wrote a letter to the local paper, the Tivyside, in 2010, when public concern about the cull and the way WAG was conducting its preparatory work was at its zenith, in which he told local people they should stop writing in to protest about the cull, that the debate was over! His attempt to stifle opinions being aired inevitably generated yet more fiery letters.

With regards to testing there is an interesting post about other court cases relating to testing at http://www.bovinetb.info/animals_tested_and_slaughtered.php which mentions that large volumes of testing puts a considerable burden on veterinaries. It is suggested that non-compliance with the European Union stipulation of cutting hair and measuring skin thickness may be widespread (see http://www.bovinetb.info/docs/dnv-report.pdf), particularly in the more busier winter months. There are details of another court case (http://www.bovinetb.info/docs/rcvs_owen-thomas.pdf) brought against John Richard, Owen-Thomas, a veterinary, who, in 2009 falsely alleged that tests had been carried out on animals which had not been tested. This was heard in 2011. Another case was brought against vet Iwan Wyn Parry for using untrained staff in 2007 order to get the work done (http://www.bovinetb.info/docs/rcvs_parryiwan.pdf).

Information sources
http://www.rcvs.org.uk/complaints/disciplinary-hearings/ http://www.cambrian-news.co.uk/news/i/15834/
http://www.pembrokeshireagainstthecull.co.uk
http://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/news/8989099.Vet_faces_TB_allegations
http://www.bovinetb.info/animals_tested_and_slaughtered.php

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