Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Strategy fails to grasp the nettle

The Country Land & Business Association expressed disappointment that Defra's new ten-year strategy for tackling bovine tuberculosis (TB) is sidestepping the most effective method of tackling the disease due to concerns over the 'social acceptability' of culling.

"Fortunately the Framework hasn't discounted culling but when are we going to be able to implement culling as a control measure to break the cycle of this disease?" said Mark Hudson CLA President. "Why are we still waiting for the results of the flawed Krebs trials when the recent Irish study irrefutably shows the benefits of culling in tackling TB hotspots?"

Bovine TB currently costs the tax payer £64m in testing and compensation and Defra estimate that cost will rise to £300m by 2012. The incidence of TB in the UK continues to increase with ever greater numbers of herds affected by the disease.

Mark Hudson continued, "If we are ever to control TB in this country, then we have to control it in wildlife too. There is no escaping this and when the Minister cites 'social acceptability' as a reason for avoiding the most effective method of control, it does nothing to engender our confidence that Defra will take necessary but unpopular decisions."

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