On June 5 2013, the government voted down an Opposition Day motion against the pilot badger culls to control bovine TB. The motion 'This House Believes that the Badger Cull Should Not Go Ahead' was defeated by 299 votes to 250, following nearly four hours of debate. See who supported the planned culls here (the 'noes'). Some 298 MPs then went on to back the government's wider package of bTB controls, including the pilot culls (237 against).
Sean Wensley, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “BVA's policies are evidence-based and animal welfare-focused, in order to best lead and inform public debate on matters of animal health and welfare. We have always argued that bovine TB will only be eradicated through a comprehensive programme utilising all of the tools available. The announcement in December 2015 by the then Secretary of State that the Low Risk Area, covering over half of England, is on track to achieve officially TB-free status by the end of 2019 - the first time anywhere in England has enjoyed this status - points to what may be achieved by such a comprehensive strategy."
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Farmers affected by bovine TB are living through a nightmare and we must do all we can to support them and prevent the spread of this terrible disease. We support the Government's approach to bovine TB and the use of a comprehensive package of measures to eradicate this devastating disease.
"Badger culls, vaccination, pre and post movement testing of cattle and the removal and slaughter of infected animals are all vital parts of the Government's comprehensive 25-year strategy for controlling bovine TB. Issues with the supply of vaccination have been frustrating but it is vital that we continue to work together for healthy wildlife alongside healthy cattle.
“We thank all those who value the British countryside and who continue supporting our UK farmers and their herds."
“The spread of bovine TB led to the culling of 37,754 cattle in Britain in 2012 – up 10 per cent on 2011. In January this year 3,202 cattle were culled, compared to 2,580 in January, 2012. The figures clearly underline the gravity of the situation and that it is getting worse. This is devastating for the farmers involved.
“Whilst acknowledging that the pilot badger cull is a highly emotive issue, the fact is that TB levels remain significant in our wildlife population. In particular, there is a proven reservoir of TB in the badger population in some areas.
“Until an efficient and cost-effective vaccine has been developed to stop the spread of the disease, we will continue to support the Secretary of State and the Minister’s efforts in limiting the impact of TB on our industry.”
The LAA fully supports the TB Free England policy and we see it as a positive initiative in the attempt to work towards an effective TB eradication policy.
The re-launched website provides a wealth of information and statistics, all of which are important to understand.
Bovine TB is a horrifying disease which we have allowed to run rampant through our countryside. We must work together to ensure its control and eradication using efficient and effective methods based on sound science. We support the work of TB Free England to ensure there is sound information about bTB in the public domain.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is one of the most serious problems facing the dairy industry at present. It has a devastating effect on many dairy farming businesses and families.
The government has adopted an eradication plan based on the best scientific evidence available. This approach is based on a combination of increased testing of cattle, greater biosecurity, controls on cattle movements and the government’s science-led cull of badgers in selected areas where the level of bTB is persistently high.
We continue to support the Secretary of State and the Minister’s efforts in limiting the impact of bTB on our dairy industry. The ultimate goal is a permanent solution which results in a TB-free livestock and TB-free countryside.
A balanced and science-based approach is required to address the distinct challenges of bovine tuberculosis control in both endemic areas and beyond. Despite the robust cattle-directed measures currently being used, it is evident that the advance of bTB is not being controlled.
The costs to the taxpayer and to the cattle-farming community are escalating.
The evidence of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial showed badger control to be beneficial in reducing the incidence of bTB breakdowns in cattle in areas with an infected wildlife population. Pilot culls are necessary to evaluate the methodology of badger control
The use of vaccination of badgers (alongside rigorous cattle control measures) has yet to be shown to be beneficial and may still be 10 years away from practical implementation. Research efforts should be intensified to achieve humane bTB controls including effective vaccines for cattle and badgers. Time is not on our side and it is necessary to use a balanced range of measures to urgently reverse the progress of tuberculosis.
“Bovine TB is an insidious disease that not only causes huge distress to farming communities but also has wider implications for the rural economy. A TB Free England is to be welcomed, but we should be under no illusion, this will be a difficult objective to achieve.
“It needs the farming sector, the wildlife groups, government and the executive agencies to work closely together.” Tim Brigstocke, Policy Director.
TB Free England is a great source of information on TB and the toll this terrible disease is taking on the farming community.