The Liberal Democrats launched a strategy that calls on the government to take action now to tackle the spread of bovine tuberculosis in badgers and cattle.

On Thursday (20 October) Colin Breed MP, Liberal Democrat shadow DEFRA Spokesperson said: “The Government have wavered around this topic for far too long.  What is urgently needed is not only a firm commitment to deal definitively with this issue, but interim measures to stop any further escalation.

“Bovine TB is a highly emotive issue- the animal welfare implications for both cattle and badgers are distressing and the longer the problem is left, the worse the situation will become for all parties.”

The strategy combines three elements crucial for tackling Bovine TB:

• An immediate and focused programme of badger control in hotspot areas in the South West of England and Sussex to prevent cross contamination between badgers and cattle

•  The introduction of pre- and post- movement  testing of cattle to limit cattle to cattle infection

• Enhanced Government support immediately for the research and development required for a vaccine to address the long term.”

“There are compelling animal health and welfare reasons for adopting this strategy, as well as sound economic ones.  The Government cannot continue to keep its eyes closed and hope the problem will go away – it won’t. 

“We need some courageous actions.  The Liberal Democrats have proposed it – will the Government now grasp the nettle?” added Mr Breed.