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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bovine TB Epidemic / UK

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Thu 19 Mar 2009
Source: Farmers Guardian [edited]

New bovine TB figures show disease is 'out of control'
The number of cattle slaughtered because of bovine TB shot up by 42
percent in 2008, new figures published by The Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show. A total of 39 247
cattle were culled in Great Britain in 2008, compared with 27 570 in
2007, the provisional figures show. The number of cattle herds
affected by the disease shot up by 19 percent.

The figures were published just ahead of an announcement by DEFRA
Secretary Hilary Benn that a bTB vaccine will be deployed 'in the
field' for the 1st time next year [2010]. However, opposition MPs and
farm leaders branded the announcement 'too little, too late' in the
face of the rapid spread of the disease.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said the figures showed bTB was
'a disease out of control' and that the Government was 'clueless
about how to tackle it.'

"Bovine TB is spreading from county to county at enormous cost to
both farmers and taxpayers who are ultimately footing the bill.
Hilary Benn's desire to wait for a vaccine which is 5 years away is
irresponsible. By then every county could be infected and the number
of cattle slaughtered could easily exceed 50 000 a year," Mr. Paice
said. "Dairy farmers in many parts of the country live in constant
fear that their herds will be the next to test positive. Bloodlines
dating back generations and dairy farms in families for decades are
simply being wiped out."

NFU [National Farmers' Union] TB spokesman Jan Rowe said: "The
figures shows that dealing with this disease in cattle alone patently
isn't working, but to rely on vaccines to solve the problem is simply
stupid. They are not guaranteed to be effective at all and it will be
towards 2020, anyway, before we see any real benefits in terms of
disease control."

In an interview with Farmers Guardian, Mr. Benn said the increase in
bTB incidence was "a matter of great concern to all of us. We can see
the spread but in the end, you have to do things that are effective.
We should leave no stone unturned in terms of the controls we have
got, which is why we are putting so much effort into vaccination."

He stressed that cattle controls were also 'very important' and said
he had asked the TB Eradication Group to advise him on 'whether they
should be tightened.'

On the question of a badger cull, he said: "We culled 11 000 badgers
over 10 years but the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) gave its
advice on the benefits of culling, which I accepted."

The chief veterinary officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop said: "I
have consistently said that the bovine TB situation is unsustainable.
The cost of bovine TB -- to the farmer both emotionally and
financially, and to the taxpayer -- is unacceptable. The Welsh
Assembly Government is pursuing vigorously a comprehensive BP 27.7
million [USD 40 million] TB Eradication Programme. We are tackling
the disease on all fronts, including a review of the TB compensation
system, testing the entire Welsh herd, stepping up biosecurity, and
addressing any link between the disease in cattle and in wildlife."

[Byline: Alistair Driver]

Communicated by:

[see also:
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK: (Wales) 20090107.0066
Bovine tuberculosis, feline - UK (02) 20081126.3722
Bovine tuberculosis - UK: increased incidence 20081123.3696
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK (03): 2005-2006 20081114.3594
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK (02) 20081112.3565
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK 20081111.3551
Bovine tuberculosis, feline - UK 20081005.3141
Bovine tuberculosis, human, canine - UK: (England) (02) 20080927.3054
Tuberculosis, bovine - Netherlands ex UK: EU consultation 20080909.2813
Bovine tuberculosis, human, canine - UK: (England) 20080903.2751
Bovine tuberculosis, caprine - UK: (Wales) 20080723.2229
Bovine tuberculosis - UK, Ireland, Netherlands ex UK 20080718.2186
Bovine tuberculosis - UK, Ireland 20070731.2473
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (England) (02) 20061015.2967
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (England) 20061009.2896
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK (03) 20061014.2945
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK (02) 20061011.2915
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK 20061005.2857
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK: badger vaccine trial 20060622.1724
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England) 20051209.3549
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (Gloucestershire) (02) 20040716.1930
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (Gloucestershire) 20040714.1890
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England): wildlife 20040717.1941
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England) 20040216.0513
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK 20031105.2745
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (Scotland) 20031021.2647]

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