Commission sets up TB task force

An MEP has welcomed the creation of a European Commission (EC) task force to tackle bovine TB.

The European Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou, confirmed the news that an action group will be set up during a meeting with MEP Neil Parish (Con.) and representatives of the UK meat industry.

The Commissioner also announced that the EC animal disease task force will visit the UK to investigate methods for eradication of the disease following a request from the British government.

Parish said: "The British government's dithering over how to control bovine TB has unfortunately made EU intervention necessary.

"British farmers do not want to take matters into their own hands, nor do they want bureaucrats in Brussels to intervene, but if the government is not prepared to take the difficult decisions needed to ensure that the disease is properly eradicated, they risk both things happening."

The Conservative party has been very critical of the government's policy on TB and claims that Dutch and Belgium traders have launched an unofficial boycott on British cattle since 100 infected calves from Britain were found on six Dutch farms a few months ago.

Conservatives estimate that if not adequately controlled, TB will cost taxpayers £300 million by 2012.

"I very much hope that the government does finally take charge of the situation and the fact that they have approached the Commission does suggest that finally they may start taking this devastating disease seriously," added Parish.

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