Wildlife TBsurvey will help farmers
A MAFF survey of TB in wildlife, due to begin this autumn, should give farmers a better idea of how to protect their cattle from TB.
The survey was recommended by the report on TB compiled by Professor Krebs last December. Badgers and other wild animals on farms will be monitored to see how they could be spreading the disease.
The survey will also collect information on a wide range of possible risk factors.
Farm management, husbandry practices and geographical factors such as landscape and climate will also be considered.
Statistical modellers and risk analysts are being invited to examine which of these factors are most likely to spread TB infection in cattle.
The programme will not involve any culling of badgers or other wild animals.
MAFF will also analyse detailed data from farms which have had outbreaks of the disease to provide pointers for future research. This will be fed into a continuing project to improve the information MAFF collects from farms with TB.
Junior farm minister Jeff Rooker said: "Researchers must consider all animals that may have access to farmland. We hope to identify a number of factors which seem to be linked to TB incidents so that we can investigate them further.
"If successful, farmers will have clearer guidance on how they can help protect cattle from this distressing and disruptive disease."