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TB rates in cattle hit lowest level for six years

Good news for farmers, good news for cattle, bad news for pro-cullers!

Incidences of bovine TB (bTB) in cattle have fallen again this month – meaning they are at the lowest monthly rate for six years. (1)

Today Defra announced that the incidence of bTB in cattle in March 2013 was 3.6%, compared to 3.9% a year ago, and a drop from 4.7% in December 2012. In the last six years, the figure has averaged at around 5%.

This drop follows new legislation brought in on January 1st 2013 to improve bTB testing and cattle movement procedures.

Philip Mansbridge, CEO of international wildlife charity Care for the Wild, said: “This is good news for everyone apart from those who are hell bent on killing badgers. These reductions can only have come from better farming practices brought in after the EU forced our Government to improve the way things were done. But for whatever reason, it’s proving a success, and the farmers and Defra should be congratulated.

“What it means is that the war is being won without a cull. Now is the time to let common sense prevail over panic, and look at the very viable option of badger vaccination. Please – don’t let anger and stubbornness determine this policy – let it be cool heads and calm science.”

Despite what has been argued by pro-cull advocates, the vaccination of badgers is a viable alternative to culling. A government-backed report released last year showed that vaccination can reduce bTB within a badger sett by over 50%, and the effect then spreads to the (unvaccinated) cubs.

The cost is also cheaper than the method of culling by trap-and-shoot.

Care for the Wild is a charity based in Sussex dedicated to the protection of wildlife in the UK and abroad. For more information or if you would like to support our work, see


1)      The number of incidences, measured as the % of tests on officially TB free herds which resulted in officially TB free status being withdrawn, has not been lower than 3.7% since March 2007, with the exception of one ‘blip’ month, April 2010.

2)      Full details of the bTB statistics can be seen here:

3)      Care for the Wild International is a charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of wildlife around the world. Our mission is to rescue, protect and defend wildlife by committing our resources to deliver the greatest good. You can find out more about the charity by visiting Registered Charity No. 288802.

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