Objections to new cattle TB controls are counterproductive

UK - The National Beef Association has told cattle farmers that they will make it more difficult to secure approval for a committed badger cull in TB infected areas if they continue to fight against the adoption of pre-movement testing ( PrMT ) for animals over 42 days old from March 1st.
calendar icon 6 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

It says that Defra will not change its mind about introducing PrMT for lower age cattle in 1-2 year testing parishes so rearguard objections to the new 42 day limit will not only divert government attention from more urgent issues surrounding the adoption of a badger cull – but also give unnecessary ammunition to cull opponents.

“TB cannot be properly tackled without an organized and well constructed badger cull and if that is the big prize then every ounce of the industry's attention should be focused on doing everything it can to bring positive action against badgers forward,” explained NBA chairman, Duff Burrell .

“This means it is important farmers understand that if an effective badger cull really is to be delivered they will also have to agree to, and then be seen to co-operate with, control of TB that is spread between cattle by movement too.”

“Defra is absolutely clear that it cannot agree to a badger cull if the contribution cattle movement makes to the spread of the disease is ignored and the NBA is also sure that a badger cull that is part of an overall control package that covers both cattle and badgers will be both politically and legally more robust and therefore more likely to withstand the inevitable challenges.”

The Association has no doubt that a comprehensive approach to TB control and elimination is the route most likely to force the disease to retreat. This is why it is appealing for cattle farmers to accept that continued objections to anti-cattle spread measures like PrMT are counterproductive.

“It will be easier for Defra to approve a badger cull if farmers have already fallen in with PrMT , which will reduce the number of new cases in areas where badgers are not infected, and have also shown they are willing to co-operate with bio-security measures that will include isolating incoming cattle and keeping badgers out of feed, and feeding areas,” said Mr Burrell.

“A single channel attack aimed exclusively against the badger is a political and legal no-hoper. What is needed is a two pronged approach, covering both cattle and the badger, and permission to cull badgers cannot be given unless farmers themselves have demonstrated that the cattle side of this two-pronged policy is being dealt with.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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