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NBA Issues Bovine TB Recommendations

11 August 2008

UK - The UK National Beef Association TB Committee is issuing new recommendations to the beef industry after, what they have branded, the failure of Hilary Benn to meet his legal obligation under UK and EU law.

The National Beef Association has said that in the light of Mr Benn’s refusal to licence the culling of the occupants of diseased badger setts, farmers are recommended to take note of Defra’s “Husbandry best practice advice” on TB control:- 16 out of 21 of these guidelines refer to badgers with TB.

At this time of year it is also crucial for farmers to check forage conservation areas, particularly maize, and follow Defra best practice advice. The TB Committee particularly advises farmers of the danger of maize crops. It recommends filling in any holes in the ground that might attract a passing badger.

It is known that increasing badger numbers are partially attributed to badgers drawing in and living off maize cobs underground. Defra wild-life officials have stated that underground holes can be checked as being unoccupied by placing two or more crossed sticks within the entrance to each hole and, provided these sticks are not disturbed for 21 days, the hole can be certified as not affecting wild-life. All nearby holes should be checked in the same way in the same period.

The guidelines state that written records of daily inspections of the sticks should be kept. If further reassurance is needed, spread sand at the entrance to such holes to ensure no animals are attempting to enter. The TB Committee further points out that an empty hole, which was occupied by diseased and dead badgers, is a hazard to any new transient healthy badgers because the carcase of diseased badgers and their bedding remains infectious underground in dark damp conditions for over twelve months. (A Defra licence is required to remove an active badger sett.)

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

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