This forum strand looks at the general issues involved in the bovine TB debate.
26 Nov 2014, 5:23 PM
According to the BBC MPs have been told the dairy sector is in a desperate state. Four hundred milk producers have quit the business so far this year, compared with 200 over the whole of last year.
Giving evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra), the chairman of Farmers For Action, David Handley, said: "The situation is getting so serious that in the last nine weeks we've passed three individual dairy producers on to the Samaritans because they were in such a desperate state.
Having to contend with increasing bTB controls, testing etc will not be helping...
‘We may never eradicate bovine TB in England’ – Defra chief scientist.
Speaking at an NFU conference on bovine TB on Monday (17 November), Professor Ian Boyd said it was unlikely that England would ever be able to eradicate the disease completely.
“Truly, do we think we can eradicate TB from England? Almost certainly not,” he told delegates at the union’s headquarters in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
“Getting rid of it completely is probably not possible. But we can get it to the levels where we have officially TB-free status.”
Prof Boyd said it would “take decades” for the country to reach this status and no one should underestimate the difficulty of the task that lies ahead. But he remained confident that England could achieve officially TB-free status by 2038.
What about cattle vaccination?
18 Nov 2014, 6:58 PM
Farmers facing 'more pain' in fight to combat bovine TB:
Changes to TB Cattle Movement Controls – removal of the pre-movement testing exemption for Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs)
Today The Tuberculosis (England) Order 2014 comes into force. One of the changes in the new Order is the removal of the pre-movement TB testing exemption for cattle moved between holdings that are part of the same SOA in the annual testing area of England. However, to ensure that our TB controls are proportionate and consistent with planned changes to the structure of holdings in England, pre-movement testing will not be required for moves between holdings within the SOA which are within a 10 mile radius of the main holding within the SOA. Such movements will be permitted under the terms of a general licence at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/general-licence-for-the-movement-of-cattle-within-sole-occupancy-authorities.
20 Sep 2014, 10:18 AM
NFU minutes reveal farmers believe government cuts to AHVLA have made fighting Bovine TB more difficult: nfuonline.com/assets/24886
20 Sep 2014, 10:17 AM
Pretty damning of the disease management system and yet again ''The variability in testing skills between vets was raised.' Standards seem unenforceable: http://www.nfuonline.com/assets/24886
9 Sep 2014, 9:57 AM
TB Information Note: Changes to TB Cattle Movement Controls – removal of the pre-movement testing exemption for Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs)
Bovine TB is considered to be a major problem in both the developed and developing world. r.
In most developed countries bovine TB is not really a health risk as milk is heat treated which destroys any bacteria. However, in India almost 70% of milk sold is processed by the unorganised sector where hygienic practices are not guaranteed. Bovine TB screening and control is also ineffective due to unrestricted animal movements and for socioeconomic and cultural reasons.
Johnjoe McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics, is leading a project which has secured £981,717 funding from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India to investigate this problem. The project is set to last for three years, with £676,509 of the funding allocated for work in the UK and £305,208 for work in India.
The team, consisting of experts from the University of Surrey, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK, as well as academics from two Indian institutions, aims to develop a cheaper diagnostic test for bovine TB and a vaccine that could be used alongside it.
The project could revolutionise the control of bovine TB, with huge benefits to the economy, as well as livestock and human health – particularly in India.
The team is seeking to delete some of the antigens in the BCG to develop a minus strain and replace the existing skin test (which detects all of the antigens TB produces) with one that detects only a limited number of antigens, those eliminated from the minus strain BCG. This means that the test would only show a positive result if infection with the TB bacillus was detected.
Utilising our academics’ expertise in the field of genetics and proteomics, research at Surrey will focus on identifying which genes to knock out from the BCG - to ensure that any knock-out genes don’t impact the effectiveness of the BCG - and designing the diagnostic.
The research will also benefit from the recent establishment of the University's School of Veterinary Medicine, which has a strong focus on developing new control strategies for veterinary disease, such as bovine tuberculosis.
Professor McFadden said: “While other labs are looking for BCG plus strains, we’re doing the opposite and looking at minus strains, to make the vaccine more compatible with affordable diagnostics.
“If a suitable new vaccine and diagnostic test can be developed for use in India, it could potentially be transferred to the UK (subject to relevant legislation changes) or even translated for use in humans, avoiding the need for an X-ray to confirm diagnosis following a positive test for TB.”
Read more about the Infectious Diseases Research Group and how Surrey research could lead to a quicker cure for TB.
I agree with Toby - recently I have been following a website which goes by the name of SureFarm, they have a range of different information in regards to Bovine TB. - It's worth a read, they know their stuff.
Farmers urged to take on risk-based trading to help tackle bovine TB
Farmers in the North and East of England, classed low risk areas for bovine TB, are being advised to request information on the TB history of cattle they buy to reduce the risk of their herds being infected with the disease.
This practice, known as risk-based trading (RBT), will give farmers vital information about the animals they are buying and help them to assess and manage the risk of their herds being infected with bovine TB.
Since the launch of RBT last November, Defra has provided posters and guidance leaflets to all auction marts in England explaining the importance of risk based trading and what this means for farmers.
Before farmers buy stock to add to their herd they should find out the animals? TB history, asking sellers as a minimum for:
The date of the animal’s last pre-movement test, if applicable; The date of the last routine herd test; and If the herd has ever had TB and, if it has, when it last came off restrictions. Farming Minister, George Eustice said:
“Introducing new animals to a herd can be a potential disease risk. Farms in the North and East of England are for the most part free of bovine TB and we want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of disease to these parts of the country.
“Risk-based trading will help us do just that. It is an important tool that gives farmers the ability to reduce the risk to their livelihoods from the threat of this terrible disease, which can have a devastating impact on farms and lead to the slaughter of otherwise healthy cattle.”
Michael Seals, Chairman of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England added:
“Providing and receiving this extra information will help farmers to minimise the possibility of a TB breakdown with all its tragic knock on effects - such as having their herd placed under restrictions and the high likelihood that all nearby herds are also subjected to multiple TB tests.
“Farmers owe it to themselves and their neighbours to adopt RBT. It is a common sense step which can make a big impact on stopping the spread of bovine TB, and I urge all farmers to take it on board.”
AN outbreak of Bovine TB has been confirmed in Cumbria - in the Brampton area in the north of the county.
An AHVLA spokesperson said that the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) is currently investigating a bovine TB incident at a cattle holding in the north of Cumbria. The herd has been placed under movement restrictions and TB testing of neighbouring holdings within a three kilometre radius will take place shortly. Each year there are a small number of bovine TB incidents in Cumbria.
In January 2013 an extended TB surveillance (‘radial testing’) policy was introduced for all cattle holdings falling within, or straddling, a 3km radius circle from a TB breakdown in the low risk area of England. This radial testing is primarily to check for lateral secondary spread of TB from the breakdown, but also to help identify any undetected source of infection in the locality.
Cumbria is a low risk area for bovine TB. The low risk area covers large parts of the north and east of England. It has a low incidence of bTB and no recognised reservoir of the disease in wildlife.
Info from: www.nwemail.co.uk/news/outbreak-of-bovine-tb-confirmed-in-cumbria-1.1151425
22 Jul 2014, 8:05 AM
Good News for Environment Secretary as bTB at Lowest Rate for 11 Years
Rates of bovine TB (bTB) in cattle have fallen yet again according to new figures (www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330542/bovinetb-statsnotice-16jul14.pdf?dm_i=1NFN,2NBJO, 906L7E,9OD1R,1), with the incidence of the disease reaching its lowest point since 2003.
Figures released by Defra show that, between Jan-April this year compared to the same period in 2013, the number of cattle slaughtered because of bTB is down 2.6%, and the number of new bTB incidents is down 2.3%. Most importantly, and confirmed by Defra in a tweet, the incidence rate for April is at 3.1% - the lowest single monthly incidence rate since Aug 2003.
29 Jun 2014, 9:34 AM
Brothers James and Paul Collins, of Gweek, ordered to pay £15,000 for breaching rules regarding bovine TB.
Thomas James Collins (known as James), aged 66, and his 50-year-old brother Paul, both of Trenoweth Farm, in Gweek, pleaded guilty to a series of charges part-way through their trial at Truro Crown Court last week. The court heard that during a TB test on the farm, a number of cattle were found to be infected with the disease and had green reactor tags applied to their ears to identify them. Andrew Maitland, for the prosecutionprosecuting, said one cow, which he identified as number 145, was kept back from slaughter. Paul Collins said a sick animal, which was not infected, was number 145 by removing ear tags from the TB cow, attaching replacement ear tags for the TB cow to the sick cow, the court heard. The sick animal would have cost £80 to be destroyed while the TB cow was worth £1,459 in compensation to the farm from the Government. Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said: “Farming in Cornwall has had a long and honourable history. “Farmers in this county today are generally held in high regard and with much respect.” He said there was mutual trust between farmers and the public that the produce from farms was of the highest standard and free from disease. He said: “You, Paul Collins, were in breach of this trust. You took advantage of an opportunity to carry out a clever little scam.” Last Tuesday, Paul Collins pleaded guilty to fraud by making a false representation that a cow needing to be destroyed was cow 145, a TB reactor. He and James Collins also admitted two charges of breaching cattle identification regulations by applying an ear tag number to an animal that had already been used on a different animal and by failing to apply an ear tag to a calf within 36 hours of birth. James Collins also admitted breaching animal by-product regulations by failing to dispose of the carcass of a sheep. All of the offences took place between November 2012 and February 2013. Adrian Chaplin, defending James Collins, said the farm was now only barely a going concern because of restrictions imposed on it due to the number of TB-infected animals. He said: “The reality is that the farm in question was under restrictions for a period of six years.” Mr Chaplin, who said the farm had also lost its contract with Dairy Crest, added that James Collins had lived on the farm all of his life and it had been run by the family for at least 100 years. Joss Ticehurst, defending Paul Collins, said the fraud had been opportunistic but had no financial gain and the other matters were as a result of a lack of vigilance. Paul Collins was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 towards the costs of the prosecution while James Collins was fined £2,000 and told to pay £3,000 costs. In a statement after the hearing, the Collinses said EU regulations on farming were killing the industry and it was a sad day for hard-working farmers.
Experts from around the world have gathered in Wales for the first day of a four-day international conference on bovine TB.
The British Cattle Veterinary Association’s were successful in their bid to bring the International Mycobacterium bovis conference to Cardiff (held this week).
The debate needs to move on from the binary portrayal of farmers versus animal rights activists.
Speakers include scientific experts and delegates from across the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Ethiopia. They will share their knowledge on TB epidemiology, vaccination and wildlife policy.
The conference comes at a time when the level of bovine TB in Wales has fallen significantly. New incidents are down by nearly a quarter on the previous year.
The latest available Welsh government figures show that between December 2012 and November 2013 there were 880 new herd incidents compared to 1,145 in the previous year. In the same period the number of cattle slaughtered for bovine TB control also reduced from 9,364 to 6,275 – a reduction of 33%.
Wales’ farm minister Alun Davies said bovine TB had been at the top of the Welsh government’s agenda for 10 years. Despite the improvement in the situation in Wales, he insisted that the government was not “resting on its laurels.’’
“As well as providing an opportunity for us share our programme with international experts, the conference will enable us to learn from other countries that have had real success in dealing with this disease,’’ he said.
Info from: www.fwi.co.uk/articles/16/06/2014/145074/experts-gathered-for-world-tb-conference.htm#.U6A9F9JaSgU.twitte
14 Jun 2014, 10:03 AM
Email yesterday from P, a farmer.
If the NFU hadn't exaggerated the scale of bovineTB in an effort to justify their indiscriminate badger shoot then it wouldn't have attracted the attention of the EU & they wouldn't have spotted that our cattle controls were so very lax & then insisted DEFRA tightened them up!
Divine justice really & any aggrieved farmers have only themselves to blame for doing nothing to get in the way of the NFU's self serving plans which, hopefully, will continue to backfire spectacularly.
13 Jun 2014, 3:53 PM
The British Cattle Veterinary Association are hosting the VI International M.bovis conference in 2014 - 16 - 19 June 2014 in Cardiff..
Topics include: New Methods/Innovation Social Science/Economics Diagnosis Vaccination Policy Legislation and Regulation Wildlife Reservoirs Practical Delivery Progress in TB Control Epidemiology, Surveillance, Risk and Modelling
Yet another consultation exercise. More regulations for farmers, more cost, more testing ...
Further measures to strengthen our bovine TB cattle controls and prevent the spread of disease have been proposed in a consultation which began yesterday.
The proposals come as new statistics published yesterday show that the rate of new herd infections at its lowest point for 10 years. And, this cannot be as a result of the badger culling as it is much too early for this to have had any effect.
The consultation proposes the removal of pre-movement exemptions for cattle moving between several holdings under the same farm ownership, known as Sole Occupancy Authorities. This will remove the possibility of some cattle keepers in the high risk and edge areas moving their animals over long distances without any TB testing. There will still be the ability to move cattle between areas of owned land within 10 miles.
Since 1 January 2014 owners of herds who fail to complete their TB surveillance test on time risk seeing their CAP scheme payment reduced, even if the test is delayed by only one day. The consultation also sets out our intention to extend this approach to also include TB tests in restricted herds. Our current approach has already helped achieve a 60% reduction in late TB surveillance tests this year. As is the case now, farmers will not be penalised where there are good reasons for missing a TB testing deadline.
Defra has also confirmed today that from 1 October 2014 it will no longer allow the partial de-restriction of TB-breakdown holdings. This means that from that date movement restrictions will apply to all cattle on a farm until all the animals have achieved officially TB free status. There are a number of options available to cattle keepers to help manage the impacts of this change. For example cattle farmers with separate cattle management groups could consider registering some cattle under a separate county parish holding so that if TB is found in just one group the number of cattle subject to movement restrictions could be limited.
The latest bovine TB statistics show that the monthly incidence rate, which is the proportion of new outbreaks discovered through testing, was around 3.25%. This is the lowest rate since 2004 and follows a similarly low rate in February of 3.5%.
'Farmer slams Defra over 150-mile trip for TB cows' is reported in Farmers Weekly.
Kevin Wallbridge, a dairy farmer from Hooke, was forced to allow 14 of his cows to travel to West Wales or risk losing up to £10,000 in compensation. The farmer said; “Clearly people at the top don’t understand what farmers are going through with continued TB testing, uncertainty and concerns about animal welfare. When animals go to slaughter we get no say what happens and Defra can ride roughshod over any welfare issues.”
Mr Wallbridge’s cattle were first test positive for the disease six weeks ago, but was told be the Animal Health and Veterinary Licensing Authority (AHVLA), which manages the bovine TB operation in cattle, that they would have to be slaughtered in West Wales.
Unhappy with how long his cattle - some of which were pregnant - would be forced to travel in a lorry, Mr Wallbridge refused to let his cattle leave the farm and instead asked for them to be killed at his local slaughterhouse in Taunton. But officials from the AHVLA told Mr Wallbridge that they had a contract with the abattoir in Wales which was offering to pay £200 more than his local slaughter house. Unless he allowed the cattle to be collected on Tuesday, he would have had to arrange for slaughter himself and would not have been able to claim compensation for the infected cattle.
“I don’t think it’s right that the cattle went to Wales, but despite what my conscience says I can’t afford to lose £10,000 in compensation,” Mr Wallbridge said. “I even offered to pay the £200 difference to take the cattle to the local abattoir, but they said I couldn’t. It wouldn’t have been nice to see cows that close to calving go to a local abattoir, but to know they had such a long journey ahead of them is even worse. If they go down in the lorry, what they will go through it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Mr Wallbridge said he would continue to push the AHVLA and Defra to find out why the decision could not be reversed.
“My cattle need to be tested again in June so there’s a real chance this could happen again,” he added. “It’s a scandal, and I’m not stopping until I get answers.”
An AHVLA spokesman said not all abattoirs were contracted to take TB reactor animals, but animal welfare was a primary consideration when deciding which one they were sent to. Animals deemed unfit would be transported would normally be slaughtered on-farm. "To maximise best value-for-money for the taxpayer, alongside ensuring journey times to slaughter strictly adhere to welfare during transport regulations, AHVLA selects the slaughterhouse which provides the best financial return,” he added.
“Cattle owners do have the option of choosing not to receive government compensation and to arrange slaughter privately. In such cases the cost of arranging slaughter falls to the owner, but they retain any salvage value paid by the slaughterhouse.”
One hundred-and-twenty-nine animals reacted to skin tests in a dairy herd and have been slaughtered. Post mortem results are expected to confirm the disease, according to a spokesman from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).
The herd, on a farm near Kirkby Lonsdale, had originally been tested late last year and found to be clear of the disease.
Subsequent testing six months later found several reactors and Government vets confirmed that all the herd, with the exception of the young cattle, were slaughtered.
Neighbouring farmers have been informed and contiguous testing is to be carried out.
Strict animal movement restrictions remain in place on the farm and contiguous holdings, but efforts to trace the source of the disease have not yet yielded an answer, said the spokesman.
“There are a lot of premises in that area, around 46, that need to be tested,” said the AHVLA spokesman.
“We have tested on the farms where the animals were sourced from and found no traces of TB.”
A surveillance of wildlife in the area has also come up negative.
“It is pretty obscure where the disease has originated from,” the spokesman added.
In April more than 1,800 cattle were tested for bovine TB after an outbreak of the disease was traced to a farm in west Cumbria.
Government vets said the latest outbreak was not linked to the one in west Cumbria.
FARMERS in Wales buying cattle are being advised to consider the potential bovine TB risk the animals could pose before purchasing them.
The warning follows recent cases of TB which have been linked to a dispersal sale in Cumbria that took place at the end of February.
Cattle from the sale were moved to numerous premises across Great Britain, some of which were in Wales.
The animals originated from a low incidence area in England where cattle are tested every four years.
Peredur Hughes, chair of the North Wales regional TB eradication delivery board, added:
“Farmers can take precautions to reduce the disease risk from purchased cattle. For example, farmers can request that animals they buy are pre-movement tested. It is good practice to isolate and post-movement test any animals that have not been tested before they were moved.
“Buying cattle from herds with a history of the disease may also represent more of a risk than buying cattle from herds that have never had TB.
“Farmers should ask about the TB history of the herd of origin and consider the risk the animals may pose before purchasing.”
The Welsh Government says it is working with the livestock industry to consider what information could be made available to buyers at markets to give them a better understanding of the potential TB risk of cattle they are considering buying.
Info from: www.farmersguardian.com/home/livestock/farmers-urged-to-be-cautious-of-tb-when-buying-cattle/64270.article
4 May 2014, 7:32 PM
Some cattle genetically resistant to bovine TB: study. Recent research in Scotland has identified genetic traits in Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle that have the potential, through breeding, to increase their resistance to bovine tuberculosis.
The study, published in the journal Heredity, compared the genetic code of TB infected animals with that of disease-free cattle.
“Our study focused on the major dairy breed the Holstein-Friesian, and the genetics we have uncovered relates to that specific breed,” said lead researcher Liz Glass, chair of veterinary immunogenetics at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.
Several factors influence why some cattle become infected and others do not, such as age, level of infection in the environment, herd size, animal density, management practices, previous exposure and variation in the pathogen’s genetic makeup.
But the inherent genetic variation of the animal plays a key role, Glass said.
“We think that the resistance trait relates to genetic variation in genes that control innate immunity, and their effect is to prevent or eliminate infection. Our evidence would suggest that it is not a single gene but multiple genes.”
Glass’s research team worked with colleagues from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Queen’s University, both in Belfast.
A cow with lung lesions spreads the disease through a herd by coughing tiny infected droplets into the air, which other cattle inhale. They also gain exposure from contaminated feed and water.
The greatest threat is when infected animals are moved from one herd to another with extended close contact.
The research team conducted a genome-wide association study of female Holstein–Friesian cattle with 592 disease-affected cows and 559 age-matched unaffected cows that matched the diseased cows with regard to their environment and their genetic background.
Cattle from 146 dairy herds in Northern Ireland were also studied.
The team genotyped the animals and used computer analysis and mapping to identify two novel resistance locations.
Glass said the genetic signatures are determined by SNP patterns, or variations between the affected and unaffected cattle at many regions across the genome.
SNP, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, is a change in a single location in the DNA structure, and each one provides a measure of genetic variants.
“Mycobacterium bovis is a very successful pathogen because it can infect many different species.”
Glass said some studies have suggested that temperature and altitude may play a role in the bacteria’s survival, but more studies are needed.
Bovine TB is a reportable disease in Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency follows a strict testing and eradication program.
“Some studies suggest there is a negative correlation between breeding for production traits and disease susceptibility,” Glass said.
“However, there are studies showing the opposite. I think it probably depends on the breed and the traits being measured. Sometimes it can seem there is a trend at the phenotypic level but not at the genetic level. One study so far indicates that there is no adverse relationship between production traits and resistance to bovine TB”
Further research is planned.
“We hope by combining all the data together that we will be able to come up with SNP patterns that accurately predict whether a sire will have daughters that are most or least likely to become infected with M. bovis. Currently we have a paper in press that suggests that using our first set of data is feasible, but we do not think it is accurate enough for the breeders.”
She hopes choosing animals with better genotypes for TB resistance can help develop new breeding programs and other control strategies.
In a recent Farmers Guardian article (www.farmersguardian.com/home/hot-topics/bovine-tb/costly-on-going-bovine-tb-restrictions/63845.article) it is claimed that the current bovine TB policy is costing one Pembrokeshire dairy farming family a staggering £216,000 a year this is what the family reckons on-going bovine TB restrictions are having – even though only one reactor has been confirmed in the past 30 months.
The disease control implications were at the forefront of discussions when the county’s NFU officeholders met with local Welsh Assembly Member, Paul Davies, at the Prichard family’s Panty Philip Farm, near Fishguard. Host farmer, William Prichard, outlined the effects TB was having on his dairy farming business of 1,200 milkers and 800 young stock, run on four separate units and employing 13 full-time staff in north Pembrokeshire.
The farm went under TB movement restrictions in October 2011 and since then has been required to test all the cattle every 60 days.
During that time over 11,250 individual cattle tests have been carried out which have only disclosed one TB reactor, with only a further 13 animals removed from the farm as inconclusive.
As a result the family estimates that the cost to their business associated with having to keep more cattle on farm due to movement restrictions, combined with the additional labour costs and lack of suitable marketing outlets for selling livestock from TB restricted farm, comes to £216,000 a year.
“Since October 2011 only 0.1 per cent of the TB tests carried out on the farm have led to the removal of cattle and yet we are counting the severe financial cost of the disease on our business,” says Mr Prichard. “We do not have a major TB problem on our farm but TB is a major problem for our business.”
Isn't it about time farmers started to insist on being able to vaccinate their cattle against bovine TB?
14 Apr 2014, 10:04 AM
Cattle farmers must take a tougher approach to controlling bovine TB or the disease will continue to spread to new areas, a panel of vets, meeting recently in Lancashire) has warned (report in Farmers Weekly at www.fwi.co.uk/articles/12/04/2014/144137/vets-take-tough-line-on-tackling-bovine-tb.htm)
The audience was to;d that farmers needed to take more responsibility to check the disease status of animals when buying and selling. A MAJOR veterinary investigation is currently underway after a number of herds across Britain tested positive for bovine TB following a dispersal sale from a Cumbrian dairy herd.
The vets said the true risk of inconclusive reactors was being ignored. Leaving any inconclusive reactors on farm was a danger and could have devastating consequences for cattle producers, they said, and called for reactors to be iremoved from holdings immediately.
The tough line triggered a heated debate on how farmers and vets had to adopt a new mind-set if there was to be any hope of halting the spread of TB northwards.
Den Leonard, senior partner in Lambert, Leonard and May, said: “There has to be a committed and concerted effort to stop the spread. The government will not bring in any legislation that is going to help. There is no short-cut, no easy way. This disease has to be tackled by farmers and vets.”
The meeting heard farmers express some support for more testing in areas where the disease was on the rise. There was also deep concern expressed about the irresponsible actions of farmers when potentially infected cattle were “off-loaded” with little awareness of the effect of their actions in terms of spreading the disease.
Cheshire farmer Phil Latham who has been battling with TB in his own herd, said the threat of further spread was increasing because “the risky cattle go into the hands of risky farmers”.
“We need to have mandatory annual TB testing for all herds. I think with the current four-year parish testing we are just a long way off tracking the disease.”
10 Apr 2014, 1:13 PM
Here we go again.
A comprehensive Strategy to achieve TB free status in England by 2038 has been announced by DEFRA.
This includes continuing to strengthen cattle movement controls, a grant-funded scheme for badger vaccination projects in the ‘edge area’ at the frontier of the disease, and improvements to the four-year badger cull pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Following recommendations from the Independent Expert Panel that assessed the badger cull pilots last year, a series of changes will be made to improve the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of culling.
These changes will be monitored to assess their impact before further decisions are taken on more badger cull licences next year.
Addressing bovine TB in badgers in high risk areas is just one part of a new long-term strategy to eradicate bovine TB from England. The new strategy will demonstrate the wide range of tools that can be used to achieve TB free status by 2038. This includes:
Offering grant funding for private badger vaccination projects in the edge areas aiming to increase TB immunity in uninfected badgers and reduce the spread of the disease. DEFRA will provide match-funding for successful applicants;
Continuing to strengthen cattle movement controls and testing regime to stop the disease from spreading from herd to herd;
Improving biosecurity by helping farmers understand the disease risk of cattle they buy; and
Continuing to invest in development of a new vaccine for cattle which could be field tested next year, and an oral badger vaccine which could be available for use by 2019.
Info from: www.farminglife.com/news/plans-to-eradicate-bovine-tb-in-england-by-2038-1-5992176
8 Apr 2014, 7:00 PM
A MAJOR veterinary investigation is underway after a number of herds across Britain tested positive for bovine TB following a dispersal sale from a Cumbrian dairy herd.
More than 100 animals from a Cumbrian dairy were sold at the end of February at a market in Cheshire to buyers from across England, Wales and Scotland.
After some of the cattle sold were found to have tested positive for bTB, AHVLA launched a nationwide operation to trace, isolate and test all animals from the sale, alongside increased surveillance in surrounding herds.
The incident has generated significant concern among Government vets and the farming industry and raised fresh questions about the effectiveness of TB surveillance in England’s four-year testing areas, where pre-movement testing is not compulsory.
The disease has been confirmed at the Cumbrian farm which sold the cattle and it has been placed under movement restrictions. TB testing of neighbouring holdings within a 3km (1.9-mile) radius is underway.
An AHVLA spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of TB-positive cattle cases across Great Britain linked to the sale of dairy cattle from a herd in Cumbria.
“AHVLA has taken robust and rapid action to identify all animals originating from this herd so they can be isolated and tested for TB.”
He said it was too early to comment on the likely number of herds involved, or how this could have happened with a herd originating in the relatively clean four-year area.
“This incident highlights how serious a problem TB is for all cattle farmers, regardless of where they farm,” he said.
NFU North West regional director Robert Sheasby said: “We’ll continue to be involved in supporting our affected members in Cumbria and across the country and working with AHVLA. Investigations into the outbreak are at an early stage.
“It would be premature to speculate as to the origin of infection in the Cumbrian herd.”
The incident will prompt further debate about cattle TB controls as Defra publishes its long-term TB eradication strategy for England, which covers TB testing and movement controls and includes a proposal for comulsory post-movement testing in the TB Low Risk Area.