9 August 2002

No doubt transmission both ways

THERE is no doubt that bovine TB is an infectious disease, which is transmitted between cattle and wildlife in both directions, says John Bourne.

At this years Dairy Event (Sept 18-19), Prof Bourne, who is responsible for managing the Krebs TB trial, will be speaking at the Spotlight on Profit forum.

He believes culling badgers would lead to a rapid improvement in the cattle TB problem, but removing all badgers from large tracts of the UK is not an option. He plans to explain why at his Dairy Event forum.

"Getting the science into place is in the best interests of the industry to find another way to control infection." In his talk, Prof Bourne will also refer to early pathogenesis work, which highlights the difficulty in diagnosing the disease in its early stages when infectious.

The forum will provide an opportunity for producers to ask questions about controlling TB. Wilts producer William Bailey hopes to clarify future policy.

His first question is whether the recommendations in the final Krebs report will be fully implemented. "Surely it will be too late in some areas of the UK by the time it is published? Another concern is whether consequential losses will be compensated, particularly in TB hotspot areas. These losses can be crippling for any dairy business."

Mr Bailey has co-operated with the Krebs study, but wants to ask why information is being kept from him.