UK - New measures have been announced by the government to tackle the spread of bovine TB in England, including additional licences for the controversial badger culling programme.
Bovine TB costs taxpayers over £100 million every year and England has the highest incidence of the disease in Europe, with over 28,000 cattle slaughtered in the country in 2015 to control the disease.
The government’s strategy includes tighter cattle measures, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where the disease is rife.
This includes seven additional licences for badger control measures covering parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, with operations now underway. In addition, the government has updated advice packs and mapping tools, and is setting up consultations on further measures in cattle and also in non-bovine animals.
The UK's Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens said: "Action to prevent infection of cattle from significant reservoirs of TB infection in local badger populations is an essential part of the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England.
"Proactive badger control is currently the best available option and the licensing of further areas is necessary to realise disease control benefits at regional rather than at local levels."
The National Farmers Union (NFU) President Meurig Raymond said: “Farmers facing a daily battle against bTB in those areas that have been granted licences for badger control operations this year will welcome the news that finally action is being taken to tackle the reservoir of disease in wildlife in these areas."
He added: “We have always said that we must use every option available to tackle bTB, including cattle testing, cattle movement controls, improving biosecurity, and encouraging farmers to make informed decisions when buying cattle in from other areas."
TheCattleSite News Desk