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

TB Free England video: The calf

Farmers Angela and Barry are proud to have reared their 80 cattle from birth on their Derbyshire farm.

The health and welfare of the animals is paramount to their business of providing high quality British beef for British consumers.

So when they discovered that one of their herd had contracted bovine TB they were devastated.

It meant their farm would be closed down for a minimum of four months.

Stringent government regulations say that a farm must fully pass two TB tests after 60 days and 120 days before restrictions can be lifted.

The cow that tested positive was pregnant. She gave birth to a calf less than a week after the positive test came back. The ten-year-old mother, which was born and bred on the farm, has now been taken away from the calf and sent to slaughter.

Angela said: “It is very sad that the calf, which is less than a week old, will be without its mother because of TB.

“We’ve put our whole working lives into what we thought was best for these animals and yet still we’ve come down with TB.

TB in wildlife and badgers simply must be tackled.

“Our cattle have not been in contact with any other cattle. We double-fenced our boundaries so that there can be no nose-to-nose contact with animals on neighbouring farms.

“We don’t graze cattle in fields that are near neighbouring farms and no other cattle, apart from a bull, have been on our farm. And the bull tested negative for TB.

“We also do our best to keep the cows away from badger latrines.

“And we grow our own feed, so we know exactly what we they are eating.

“What more can we do? It’s so frustrating and it’s difficult not to feel angry about it.

“We worry that the rest of the herd could contract TB – it’s beyond our control.”

Angela and Barry are feeding the week-old calf from a bottle.

NFU Vice President Adam Quinney said: “Angela and Barry’s case highlights the impact TB has on the daily lives of farming families across large parts of the country. For many farmers there’s an intense feeling that they are trying to take on the disease with one hand tied behind their backs.

“There can be no dispute that disease in badgers is a significant part of the problem when it comes to the spread of TB in high risk areas and the disease is out of control in some hotspots.

“Angela and Barry, like cattle keepers across the country, are doing their level best to keep their animals healthy, but TB in the badger population needs to be tackled as well.

This is why the two control pilots that will take place in 2013 are so important – to demonstrate that a targeted cull of badgers in heavily infected areas is humane, safe and effective.”