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TB consultation receives strong support from vets


The veterinary profession has warmly welcomed the launch of the Defra consultation on tackling bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in England, which includes recommendations for badger control in areas where bTB persists at high levels, despite attempts at control using other measures.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) have long argued that bTB cannot be controlled without measures to control the disease in both cattle and wildlife.

In particular the BVA and BCVA have welcomed:

  • the recognition that the farming industry, veterinary profession and Government need to work in partnership;
  • the understanding that there is no single solution to tackling bTB and that we need to use every tool in the toolbox;
  • the commitment to a balanced package of measures linked to the understanding that we cannot succeed in eradicating bTB in cattle without addressing the reservoir of disease in wildlife; and
  • the commitment to monitor the effectiveness, humaneness and impact of badger control measures.

The Associations have noted the expectation that the farming industry will pick up the costs of vaccinating and culling badgers and will consider in detail the Governments proposals for licensing criteria and culling methods.

The BVA and BCVA will be providing a detailed response to the consultation following discussion with members of both Associations.

Commenting, Professor Bill Reilly, President of the BVA, said:

We are extremely pleased that the Coalition Government has made tackling bovine TB such a priority.

Both the BVA and BCVA have made the case that this devastating disease will not be eradicated without measures that tackle TB both in cattle and in wildlife.

We will be looking in detail to ensure that the proposals are as effective and, importantly, as humane as possible.

Our initial reaction is that the proposals announced by Defra are based on scientific evidence and expert veterinary advice and we strongly support the direction the Government is taking.

Keith Cutler, President of BCVA, added:

It is important that the Government has recognised that there is no single solution to tackling bovine TB.

Controlling the disease in badgers through vaccination and culling has a role to play, but will only be effective if properly targeted and used alongside all other available control measures.

The BVA and BCVA are therefore very pleased to see proposals that deliver a package of measures.

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