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BOVINE TB is ‘a tragedy being played out on farms up and down the country’, said George Eustice, Defra minister for farming, as he launched a bovine TB biosecurity drive on November 12.
Speaking at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, Mr Eustice said that the biosecurity campaign was part of the Government's 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB from England. The strategy recognised that a range of measures were needed, including more stringent testing of cattle, refined and improved cattle movement controls, vaccination and control of the disease in wildlife. On this last point, the Government was clear that it would have to roll out further badger culls. Noting that this was particularly contentious, he said: ‘Sometimes you have to do the right thing, even if it is not popular. We are clear that any coherent strategy to eradicate bovine TB must include tackling the reservoir of disease in the wildlife population.’⇓
The biosecurity drive aims to highlight things that farmers can do for themselves to reduce the risk of TB entering their herds. It is supported by a range of industry partners, including the National Farmers' Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the British Cattle Veterinary Association and Landex, which represents 41 UK agricultural colleges and universities.
The campaign focuses on five key areas:
▪ Taking care when buying livestock.
▪ Taking care around neighbouring farms; for example, using the ibTB website (www.ibtb.co.uk) to check on local breakdowns, so that extra precautions …