12,061 cattle slaughtered in three months because of bTB

More than 12,000 cattle have been compulsory slaughtered between January and April in Great Britain this year because of bovine TB (bTB), new Defra figures show.

In England over 9,000 cattle were slaughtered in the three month period because of the disease, leading the farming minister David Heath to highlight “the very real need to stop TB” marching further across the countryside.

Heath said in a statement today: “Every month thousands of animals infected with TB are sent to the slaughterhouse at huge cost to the farming industry and the taxpayer.

“That’s why we have launched our TB eradication strategy that sets out our plan to make England TB Free within 25 years. Bovine TB is the most pressing animal health problem in the UK threatening cattle farmers’ livelihoods and our farming industry as well as the health of wildlife and livestock and we must do all we can to get on top of it.”

Figures show that up until the end of April nearly 6,000 herds in Great Britain were under TB restrictions and 2,740 cattle were slaughtered because of the disease in April 2013 alone.

Defra’s strategy to eradicate TB in the next 25 years is currently undergoing a 12 week consultation period. However, it sets out plans for action in relevant areas, including disease surveillance, pre- and post-movement cattle testing and the removal of cattle exposed to bTB.

The plan also focuses on the development of “new techniques”, such as badger and cattle vaccines, and new diagnostic tests that could “one day offer new ways of tackling the disease”.


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