14 July 1995

TB compensation spend has doubled, says MAFF

MAFF spending on compensation for slaughtered tuberculosis-positive cattle has more than doubled in the past five years.

In 1990 it paid £812,221 for cattle slaughtered as positive reactors. Last year that had risen to more than £1.67m. Junior farm minister Angela Browning said the increasing incidence of cattle TB in the south-west was "a matter of concern both for the department and for the farmers involved".

Figures released by MAFF show that there is no sign of a downturn in 1995. In the first three months of this year there have been 178 confirmed cases in Cornwall and 130 in Glos and Avon.

Mrs Browning said it was hoped that the five-year trial of a badger control strategy, based on the use of a live badger test, would alleviate the problem.

"Work is also underway to develop alternative solutions for the longer term, including the development of a vaccine for badgers," she said. Alternatives to the current skin test for cattle are also being tested by MAFF. &#42