18 January 2001
‘Don’t catch TB from your cattle’

By FWi staff

LIVESTOCK producers and other people working closely with cattle could be at risk from bovine tuberculosis, a leading veterinary expert has warned.

Francis Anthony, a past president of the British Veterinary Association, said the disease could affect humans who come into contact with infected slurry.

Although consumers were not at risk, people like farmers, livestock hauliers, vets, abattoir workers might be, he said at a meeting on Thursday (18 January).

“These lesions contain millions of TB bacteria which could find their way into the lungs and be a hazard to human health,” he said.

Mr Anthonys comments came as he demanded urgent action from the government on the whole problem of bovine TB and badgers.

“Someone somewhere must do something now, not in three years time, not in five years time, not in 10 years time. Now,” he said.

Dr Tony Little, BVA vice-president said the government should be thinking ahead rather than waiting for trial results to see whether badgers pass TB to cattle.

“There is considerable amount of merit of keeping on with [the trial] but we know what the answers are going to be,” he told journalists in London.

Dr Little said ministers should be thinking ahead by working on possible solutions to the TB problem while accounting for all eventualities.