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TB Cattle Vaccine Years Away, Cull Essential

09 October 2012
National Farmers Union

UK - Cattle vaccine should be part of a package of measures to help control bovine TB in the future, but a workable vaccine remains many years away, says the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The statement comes after news reports on a breakthrough in cattle vaccine for TB which has been developed by Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

The breakthrough talked about is the diva test, which will be able to help differentiate between a vaccinated cow and a cow that has TB. This is one of the main stumbling blocks to a cattle vaccination programme. The diva test report has been with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate since January and is still being evaluated.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: “What concerns me most is that after today there could be more confusion about what is already a highly complex situation. We need a package of measures to tackle TB and yes, cattle vaccine must be one of them. But as Defra’s chief vet Nigel Gibbens said cattle vaccine, and the tests and regulations needed to put it in place across Europe, ‘may take years’. In the meantime, the spread of TB is doubling every nine years.

“TB is one of the main problems facing our dairy and beef farmers today and all of the scientific reports to date tell us that no one measure alone is going to combat TB.

“This TB eradication package also includes strict biosecurity on farms, tight cattle movement controls, a tough cattle TB testing regime and a cull policy that sees all cattle that test positive for TB being slaughtered. This meant losing more than 34,000 cattle across Great Britain last year alone to this disease.

“We must also remember that studies so far have shown that the cattle vaccine itself is not 100 per cent effective so on its own can only be part of the solution to tackling TB. In the meantime do we stand by idly while the disease gets worse, with more cattle being slaughtered and the disease spreading even further in our wildlife?

“I will say again that no-one, not the NFU, nor the farmers involved, wants to kill badgers. But TB must be stopped from making its relentless march across our countryside. Only by using all of the available tools in the box will we begin to get on top of this terrible disease.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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