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Farmers urge review for quicker TB results
4:46pm Friday 9th September 2011 in Farming
THE Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) wants the Government to immediately review its TB reactor clearance policy and introduce a speedier market-based solution.
David Cotton, chairman, told a briefing at this week’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show at the NEC, Birmingham, that farmers currently have too long to wait. Farmers, including himself, are waiting an average two weeks from receiving test results to the removal of cattle by operators managed by the animal health agency.
“During that period these reactor cattle have to be isolated and run the further risk of infecting wildlife,” said Mr Cotton.
RABDF wants farmers to have a choice of disposal through a scheme similar to the collection and disposal service operated by the National Fallen Stock Company.
Mr Cotton said: “Farmers would have access to a list of slaughter premises and hauliers who we would place confidence in to accelerate the current reactor clearance procedure.”
Although the RABDF had welcomed Defra secretary Caroline Spelman’s announcement for an intended licenced badger cull in England it had expressed grave concern that further consultation was required – “no doubt inevitably followed by judicial review,” said Mr Cotton.
“We have to get real. If and when the proposed cull does go ahead, it will be isolated to just two hot spot areas. Depending on its success, it’s going to be at least a further 12 months before we see any vaguely widespread action which takes us to 2013 and beyond.”
He urged farmers to adopt five “essential” measures to minimise disease transmission:
• adhere to the 60 day pre-movement testing rule
• source all purchased stock from a farm which has no record of reactors in the last two years
• isolate all purchased cattle on the oncoming farm for a minimum of four weeks during which period, each individual animal’s vaccination programme should be updated
• ensure every purchased animal is accompanied by a full health declaration form
• take the best possible advice from their vet and consultant. Keep up to speed with what’s happening to TB control.
Mr Cotton said: “TB is an insidious disease which remains the biggest concern among all livestock producers throughout the rest of the country, even if they are not in an infected area and it’s stifling their farming businesses. Of equal concern, TB is spreading like wildfire to other species.”