Government launches TB-protection service

A new service has been introduced to offer support to farmers who are the most vulnerable to bovine TB.

The initiative will provide on-farm, phone and email advice to farmers through a new Defra-funded advisory scheme. Consultants will share their knowledge to help prevent the spread of bovine TB based on the Biosecurity 5-point Plan.

“Bovine TB is one of the greatest animal health threats in the UK and has a devastating impact on our farmers,” said chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens.

“As part of our comprehensive long-term plan to eradicate the disease, I am delighted to announce that, from today, farmers will be able to access even more help and support via the new bovine TB Advisory Service.”

The new programme is part of a long-term plan to eradicate the disease completely in all animals. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), it costs taxpayers over £100 million a year in England alone, with the country claiming the highest count of incidents in Europe. Last year, more than 29,000 cattle were slaughtered in England in an effort to help control the disease.

The helpline has been designed to give advice to farmers to limit the on-farm risk of the disease. Farm visits will provide practical advice to help protect herds and, if necessary, manage the impacts of a TB breakdown on the farm.

Defra’s new scheme will support the already existing information available via the TB Hub.

“Alongside the existing TB Hub, the bovine TB Advisory Service will help arm our farmers with the knowledge they need to prevent this devastating disease spreading – a vital weapon in our fight to protect the UK’s heard and our farmers’ futures,” added Gibbens.

Over a three-year period, the service – delivered by Origin Group - will offer visit 2,400 farms in the south west and Midlands.

To register interest for the scheme, call 01306 779410 or email info@tbas.or.uk.

The Biosecurity 5-point Plan can help farmers protect their herds and those of their neighbours by:

  • Restricting contact between badgers and cattle
  • Managing cattle feed and water
  • Stopping infected cattle from entering the herd
  • Reducing the risk from neighbouring herds
  • Minimising infection from cattle manure

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