3:25pm Friday 16th August 2013
By Mike Bridgen
TOUGH new rules to stop bovine TB spreading in the “edge area” of England will be introduced in October.
Farming Minister David Heath said stamping out infection within the zone – which lies between the high and low risk areas – will benefit farmers and livestock businesses by an estimated £27m over ten years by limiting its impact on them.
“We must do everything we can to crack down on what is the biggest animal disease threat facing the nation,”
“The measures we are introducing will help protect vast areas of England from the scourge of TB and take a significant step towards our goal of eradicating TB within 25 years.”
The edge area includes Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Hampshire, and parts of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and East Sussex.
If left unchecked, bTB could spread to Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Merseyside and West Yorkshire by 2022.
The new edge area measures include:
All farms in the edge area already have annual compulsory TB testing, and compulsory testing before the movement of any cattle from the farm.
Michael Seals, chairman of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, said: “We cannot allow bovine TB to continue to spread and condemn more farmers to the fate of dairy and beef herds in the south and west of England who have to live in constant fear of the disease. The edge area measures are necessarily tough but will provide significant savings to farmers over the next decade as we can contain and push back the frontier of TB.”
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and its specialist British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) division welcomed the strategy.
Peter Jones, BVA president, said: “The edge area strategy recognises the role of both cattle movements and wildlife in the spread of bovine TB, and the need for extra effort to understand the dynamics of infection in cattle, in badgers, and between the two species.”
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