MP piles on the pressure for action on bovine TB

The chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dairy Farming is calling for decisive political action from DEFRA to tackle the problem of bovine TB.

The call from Daniel Kawczynski comes as rumours circulate that the government is preparing to give the go-ahead to a badger cull.

The Sunday Times claims that DEFRA secretary David Miliband has sent a letter to his Cabinet Colleagues ahead of a possible announcement on 15 June.

Mr Kawczynski this week visited the 500 acre dairy and mixed farm in Westbury at the southern end of his Shropshire constituency which is farmed by Stuart and Jenny Jones and parents. 

Mr Jones contacted his MP after suffering the first case of bovine TB at his family farm in 51 years. 

The first cow to test positive for TB since 1956 was taken away for slaughter last week, in spite of Hall Farm being a closed dairy herd, with no cattle being brought in from other farms.

Local vet Benno Veenstra from Stapeley Veterinary Practice in Minsterley also came to Hall Farm to talk with Mr Kawczynski and Mr Jones about the TB crisis in the area. 

He confirmed that there are currently around 80 new cases of TB being reported each month in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire on farms that have no recent history of TB infections. 

“TB is spreading across Shropshire,” said Mr Veenstra. “It has never been so bad in the Rea Valley area.”

“I will be calling on the Government to take immediate positive action on bovine TB,” said Mr Kawczynski, who is also on the DEFRA Select Committee that scrutinises the work of DEFRA. 

“I am going to challenge Secretary of State David Miliband and Animal Welfare Minister Ben Bradshaw to take the necessary decisions to introduce control of badgers to protect the welfare of both badgers and cattle and to secure the livelihoods of our cattle farmers.”