TB testing

Farmers and vets have united to agree three principles on how the next government should tackle bovine TB and other cattle diseases.

The guiding principles were agreed in an industry meeting this week that included farming and veterinary organisations.

The meeting involved the British Cattle Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, Country Land and Business Association, Farmers For Action, Livestock Auctioneers’ Association, National Beef Association, NFU, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and Tenant Farmers Association.

As a priority, the group urged the next government to add its support for the coalition government’s 25-year bovine TB eradication strategy published in April 2014.

The plan to eradicate the disease within 25 years includes cattle movement controls, badger vaccination in edge area counties and culling where the disease is rife.

See also: Third of farmers say coalition delivered for them, survey shows

 The three main strands agreed were:

  1. The creation of a TB Eradication Board for England – comprising suitably qualified representatives from the farming industry, the veterinary profession and government – charged with strategic leadership, communication, technical capability and oversight of delivery, reporting directly to the Defra secretary.
  2. A nationwide TB Advisory Service as part of the Rural Development Programme for England, giving advice and training to farmers on how to deal with the consequences of the disease or help them remain disease-free.
  3. The creation of an industry-led, non-government body – Animal Health England – with the mission of improving the cattle health status of the country by tackling non-statutory diseases, such as bovine viral diarrhoea, Johne’s disease and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis.

After the meeting, the group issued the following statement: “There is broad agreement between the farming industry and the veterinary profession on the approach the next government should take on bovine TB and other cattle diseases.

“This agreement will be presented to the next government as a top priority.”