1 March 1996

NFU to press for action plan

THE TB-free status of the national cattle herd is at stake and is moving toward a point where it may be in jeopardy.

This is the view of Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, chairman of the NFUs badger working group.

"We have plenty of circumstantial evidence, but the science is not unequivocal to show that badgers are central to the problem," says Mr Oliver-Bellasis. "There is only one decision: Whether to control badgers or not. And if they arent, the government has got to pay."

Mr Oliver-Bellasis suggests setting up a small committee consisting of all interested parties. He wants it to come up with an action plan within six weeks. A preliminary meeting of a number of organisations has been set for mid-March.

He suggests agreeing a new strategy through the committee. "For example, maybe take all the parishes with a TB problem and split them into two. In one there will be a major job done on controlling the badger population and in the other do nothing," he says.

"Then after three years or so we will find out whether TB went down in the control or other side."n