12 April 2002

TB:Sussex man is near his end

BOVINE TB could end beef and dairy farming on the South Downs if the fears of West Sussex producer Nick Adames are realised.

"If I get another reactor, I dont think, with the governments current attitude (towards TB prevention) that there is a lot of point in going on," said Mr Adames after confirmation of the disease in one animal from his herd of 147 Friesian dairy cows and calves at Madehurst near Arundel. Many South Downs farmers would probably do likewise, he added. "I doubt there will be many similarly affected cattle farmers wanting to wait another three years for the Krebs report findings (designed to gauge the effectiveness of badger culling strategies)."

He believes a rapid rise in badger numbers is responsible for the first TB outbreak in the county in six years by spreading the disease through maize silage. "The (local) badger population has exploded since I started growing maize. They love the cobs."

Pressure on government from badger groups hinders attempts to tackle the disease, he said.

&#8226 For more, see our TB Focus which begins on p18 &#42