Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Ten per cent rise in culls of TB-affected cattle herds
3:09pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Farming
MORE than 38,000 cows were slaughtered in Great Britain last year as a result of bovine tuberculosis – almost ten per cent up on 2011.
The figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed 28,284 cattle were slaughtered inEngland alone – the country’s highest annual figure for a decade.
Since 2010 TB has resulted in 105,078 cows being slaughtered in Great Britain of which 79,365 were in England.
Peter Kendall, NFU president, said the figures came despite increasedcattle controls, additional pre-movement testing, and stricter on-farm bio-security measures.
Last year 5.849m TBtests were carried out compared to 5.494m in 2011. The number of new TBincidents in herds was 3,941 compared to 3,763 in 2011.
Mr Kendall said the new figures showed TB was out of control and cattle measures alone could not combat it.
“And it is not just in endemic areas,” he said, “TB is creeping into new areas like the North and East Midlands, Cheshire and the south-east. This has to stop.”
Ministers said the figures showed the impact of the disease on dairy and beef farming and highlighted the need to take action.
Two pilot culls of badgers, which can spread the disease to cattle, will be held in Somerset and Gloucestershire this summer as part of efforts to tackle the disease.
David Heath, farming minister, said: “What was once confined to a small area of the South West has the potential to become a national crisis and if left unchecked could cost the taxpayer £1bn over the next ten years.
“We cannot afford to sit back and let this happen, which is why we are doing everything we can to get on top of this disease,” he said.