ISG report on the epidemic of TB in cattle and badgers

UK - The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) has published its final report, Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence. The report outlines the issues involved in the epidemic of TB in both cattle and badgers.
calendar icon 18 June 2007
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It evaluates the potential of badger culling for TB control among cattle and the likely effectiveness of enhanced cattle based control measures.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Miliband, today released a statement in response to the report. Mr Miliband outlines that cattle control measures are critical to tackling this disease. We have already tightened these measures and the numbers of herds tested each year has increased significantly. This has increased the costs to both the taxpayer and farmers.

Defra will consider the ISG’s conclusions, suggesting more could be done to tackle transmission between cattle. However, new cattle measures would increase the cost of the TB control regime. As a result, we will work with the farming industry and the veterinary profession to assess the implications of these recommendations.

Badgers contribute significantly to the cattle disease in some parts of the country. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 allows the culling of badgers under licence for disease control purposes. But, while the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) has been in progress, there has been a freeze on issuing these licences.

The ISG’s final report marks the end of the RBCT and summarises the results. These show that small scale culling can increase levels of TB in cattle. The report also says that proactive culling as practiced in the RBCT can bring benefits but only if culling is sustained over a number of years and coordinated. The ISG are not convinced that it would be practical or economical to deliver a cull in this way. Therefore, they conclude that badger culling could not contribute meaningfully to the control of bovine TB in Great Britain.

Further information ISG report
ISG press release
David Miliband’s statement

Go to previous news on the badger cull debate by clicking here.

Alternatively, for information on Bovine Tuberculosis, click here.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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