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Relentless Tuberculosis To Claim a Quarter of a Dorset Herd

09 April 2014

UK – A south of England dairy farm is having a quarter of its herd culled after 36 animals tested positive to a recent routine bovine tuberculosis test.

This includes 31 in-calf heifer replacements which will be sent for slaughter from a herd of 160 British Friesians, explained farmer Paul Gould.

Mr Gould, who farms in the south west county of Dorset, suspected badgers as the source of infection.

“We’ve been a closed herd for 60 years, which means that all the cattle were born and bred on the farm and I don’t want to compromise that by bringing any animals in.

“We have badger setts on the farm and as far as I’m concerned there’s only one source of infection that this could have come from.”

The farm will be placed under 60 day testing to monitor the disease and Mr Gould will have no replacements this year.

“It will probably take us three years or more just to get back to where we are now,” he said. "Losing all these cows in one go is going to have a serious impact on the business.”

National Farmers Union President, Meurig Raymond said Mr Gould could not have done more to thwart the ‘terrible’ outbreak.

Mr Raymond said burdening farmers with more regulations is not worthwhile unless tuberculosis is tackled in wildlife and this means culling badgers in place where TB is endemic.

“The government’s TB eradication strategy highlights the need to control the badger population in areas where TB is rife,” said Mr Raymond.

“The NFU will now be looking at the best ways of rolling out this policy to other areas where farms and farmers are having to deal with the scourge of TB on their farms.”

Michael Priestley 

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock



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