Bovine TB still on the rise as thousands of cattle slaughtered

Thousands more cattle were slaughtered due to bovine TB in 2012 compared to 2011 according to new statistics released by Defra yesterday.

The number of cattle slaughtered in Great Britain as reactors or direct contacts increased by 10% to 37,753 in 2012, and this figure does not include those slaughtered as inconclusive reactors.

The latest statistics also reveal that the number of farms tested has increased by nearly 18% as new measures have been put in place in an attempt to get ahead of the spread of bovine TB in England and Wales. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of lower risk herds being tested which will have affected the headline incidence rate, influencing the decrease from 4.9% in 2011 to 4.5% in 2012 and Defra and National Statistics have warned that the incidence rates are subject to further revisions.

Commenting, Carl Padgett, Past President of the British Veterinary Association, said:

“These statistics make for sober reading as we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cattle slaughtered in the last year.

“The figures remind us that urgent action is required to help us get on top of this disease. We need to ensure compliance amongst farmers with the tougher cattle control measures, a strong push from the Government on cattle and badger vaccination, and support for measures to tackle the disease in badgers through piloting a targeted, humane cull.”


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