A five-point TB biosecurity plan and online TB information hub have been launched by a cross-industry consortium to help farmers tackle bovine TB.
Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), National Farmers’ Union (NFU), British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) and Landex have produced the tools and advice to help farmers protect their herds from the disease.
The online TB hub contains practical advice for beef and dairy farmers on dealing with TB on their farms, covering everything from biosecurity to understanding trading rules.
The TB biosecurity five-point plan includes information on improving disease prevention on farm and in the trade of cattle.
See also: Latest bovine TB news
Recommended actions include asking for a herd’s TB history before buying cattle and taking steps to minimise wildlife access to cattle, feed and housing.
From the end of November, posters featuring the set of industry-endorsed biosecurity actions will be on display in APHA offices, vet surgeries and cattle auction marts. Copies will be sent to farmers around the country, together with regular surveys to track progress.
Speaking at the launch of the TB hub and five-point plan today (12 November) at Hartpury College, farming minister George Eustice said: “Reducing the risk of disease entering a farm is a crucial element if we are to end the devastation it causes for farmers and rural communities.
“There are simple and practical ways for farmers to reduce risk to their herds and neighbouring businesses from bovine TB which are set out in this new action plan approved by vets and farming experts.”
BCVA president Neil Blake also emphasised the importance of good biosecurity. “Biosecurity and risk-based trading are important in the management of all infectious diseases. Combining wildlife controls with biosecurity and risk-based trading will allow us to make significant inroads in the fight against bovine TB,” he said.
The five points of the plan for improved biosecurity are:
1. Restrict contact between badgers and cattle
2. Manage cattle feed and water
3. Stop infected cattle entering the herd
4. Reduce risk from neighbouring herds
5. Minimise infection from cattle manure