TB Free England

Bovine TB (bTB) devastates thousands of farming family businesses every year and tens of thousands of cattle are culled annually in England because of it. Find out more about bTB, its impact, and why we must use all available options to make England TB free.

 Cattle culled in England because of bovine TB since January 1 2008

How can the spread of bovine TB be reduced?

The evidence shows that bTB can be tackled successfully when the disease is tackled on all fronts at the same time.

Cattle testing for Tb_275_182

This means using both cattle controls and badger controls in the hotspot areas -those areas where the disease is persistent and high.

Cattle herds in TB problem areas, and surrounding areas, are tested at least annually (the same testing frequency as Wales) and cows that react to the test are isolated and slaughtered.

The remainder of the herd is subject to strict movement restrictions, meaning cows cannot move off farm, unless it is for slaughter, until the whole herd passes two consecutive TB tests 60 days apart.

Despite these measures, huge numbers of farms are still closed down with bTB.

The number of cattle herds in England which were under restrictions because of a TB incident at some time during 2015 was 6,889. This is having a devastating impact on the British beef and dairy sectors.

Currently, TB infected badgers are not identified, treated or slaughtered, allowing the disease to build in this wildlife reservoir. It has developed to the extent that they can excrete vast numbers of bTB bacilli in their dung, urine and saliva which can then be ingested by cows.

The evidence demonstrates that badgers do spread bTB to cattle, and harbour a reservoir of the disease. In the TB eradication strategy published in April 2014 the Government recognises the role badgers play in spreading the disease in areas where bTB is rife and makes a clear commitment to controlling the disease in badgers in these areas as part of the strategy. There is no nationwide culling strategy.