31 July 1998
Government set to act on cattle TB

By Brian Brady, Press Association

THE Government is set to outline actions to tackle the increase in cases of tuberculosis among cattle, Nick Brown, the new agriculture minister, told the Commons yesterday (30 July).

He said he hoped to have “something positive to say” in response to a new expert report on bovine TB, before the House rises for its long summer break today (31 July).

Mr Brown was speaking at question time in response to concerns raised by Tory spokesman James Paice over a 30% increase in outbreaks in the past year.

“The beef market is affected not just by BSE but also potentially seriously by the tuberculosis problems,” Mr Paice said.

“A number of herd outbreaks has increased by 30% in the last year and that is causing concern about our notional free status of TB.

“Now you have the report of the expert group to hand, will you ensure there is no further delay in implementation of the recommendations?”

Mr Paice also appealed for action on compensation for owners of herds hit by outbreaks, and movement restrictions placed on affected farms.

Confirming he had the report before him, Mr Brown said: “I am meeting later this afternoon to consider these matters and hope to have something positive to say before the House rises for the recess.

“I accept that this is a very important issue. I am also meeting the president of the National Farmers Union and his colleagues later today to discuss a range of matters and I am sure this will be amongst them.”