DEFRA unveils wildlife health strategy

A national surveillance team is being established to help tackle disease in wildlife across England.

Part of DEFRA’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, the surveillance partnership will provide animal health information in a bid to help take steps to protect wildlife and livestock from disease.

The strategy sets out ways the government will work with industry, including vets, to increase its knowledge of wildlife diseases such as bovine TB.

It also sets out plans to increase monitoring of animal disease, including bovine TB, to minimise their effects on wildlife, human and livestock health.

DEFRA said developing partnerships and networks would allow the government to make better use of surveillance information that is collected.

However it did not mean DEFRA would take greater steps in intervening on wildlife health issues.

“The UK’s native wildlife species have evolved to live with endemic disease,” said Nigel Gibbons, DEFRA chief vet.

“So whilst local populations may fluctuate as a result of disease, this is part of the natural ecology and not in itself a reason for government intervention.

“By working together, we will make a significant contribution to safeguarding public health, animal health and welfare,” he added.



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