Bovine TB: Hope new measures will stamp out disease as badger cull ruled out

(Title Image: The Guardian)

A new approach to tackling the spread of Bovine TB was launched in Wales on October 1st. Environment & Rural Affairs Secretary, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham), provided AMs with an update on Tuesday (3rd October).

Work to date was said to be “encouraging” with cases of Bovine TB down 40% since 2009, but more had to be done to properly eradicate the disease.

The new measures will divide farms into similarly-sized areas and place those areas into different categories (High, Intermediate, Low) based on the levels of the disease present. This will give the government, farmers and animal health professionals a better idea of where the disease is at its strongest and how to expand disease-free areas.

Cattle in “Low” areas will no longer need to be tested before being moved, but compensation for each cattle lost as a result of the disease will now be capped at £5,000 per animal.

As a result of the new approach, badgers – one of the main reasons for the spread of the disease – will only be trapped, tested and euthanised in areas where it’s proven they’re a cause of persistent spikes in TB cases within a herd. Badgers that test negative for TB under these conditions will be microchipped and released.

In response to a question to Joyce Watson AM (Lab, Mid & West Wales), the Secretary said that she had “ruled out an English-style (badger) cull” for, while she also was minded to keep the option of badger vaccination on the table once global shortages of vaccine are addressed.

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