Spotlight intensifies on badger culls with 7% rise in number of TB cattle slaughtered

 

A A A

More than 28,000 cattle were slaughtered in England last year as a result of bovine tuberculosis, a rise of 7% on the previous year, official figures show

A total of 28,284 cattle were slaughtered in 2012 because they tested positive for TB or were a high risk because of close proximity to an infected animal, figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed.

The number of new incidents of TB in herds was 3,941, a 5% increase on 2011.

Ministers said the figures showed the growing impact of the disease on dairy and beef farming and highlighted the need to take action.

The Government has given the green light to two pilot culls of badgers, which can spread the disease to cattle, in Somerset and Gloucestershire this summer as part of efforts to tackle TB.

The controversial plans could see culling rolled out more widely in TB hotspots if the methods used for killing badgers in the pilot schemes are judged to be effective and humane.

But the figures also reflect more widespread testing to monitor the disease, with more than 5.8 million tests carried out compared to just under 5.5 million in 2011.

Farming minister David Heath said: “Bovine TB continues to spread at an unacceptable rate, leading to the slaughter of thousands of cattle and ongoing misery for our dairy farmers.

“What was once confined to a small area of the South West has the potential to become a national crisis and if left unchecked could cost the taxpayer £1 billion over the next 10 years.

“We cannot afford to sit back and let this happen, which is why we are doing everything we can to get on top of this dreadful disease.”

Across Britain, some 38,010 cattle were slaughtered because of TB, including those who had inconclusive tests for the disease, up almost 10% from 2011 when 34,688 cattle were killed, the National Farmers' Union said.

The NFU said the increase came despite greater cattle movement controls and stricter measures on farms to stop disease spreading. More new tough rules on farms were introduced in January as part of the Government's TB eradication plan.

NFU president Peter Kendall said the figures showed that controls on cattle were not enough to tackle the disease.

He said: "TB is one of the largest threats facing our beef and dairy farmers. In 1998 we had 6,000 cattle with TB in the whole of Great Britain. From today we see that by the end of 2012 this figure has jumped to 38,010 - 28,284 in England alone.

"And it is not just in endemic areas, TB is creeping into new areas like the North and East Midlands, Cheshire and the South East. This has to stop.

"Today, I repeat our commitment to the Government's TB eradication plan which involves tighter cattle controls and increased on-farm biosecurity and we remain convinced that, as today's figures clearly demonstrate, cattle controls alone are not enough to tackle this disease while we have a reservoir of TB in our wildlife.

"Badger controls play a fundamental part in ridding our countryside of TB once and for all."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Retail Supervisor

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are lookin...

Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; Moorgate up to £23k

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; ...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Sales Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are looking for enthusias...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible