Sunday, April 02, 2006

As bTb hits (another) 'closed herd', farmer wants answers...

In the same Welsh newsapaper, The County Times which carried the story of little Emma Jones and her 'exploding' neck glands, described as 'Atypical tuberculosis', (see post below comes the story of a Welsh farmer also seeking answers:

"A CAERSWS farmer has spoken of his shock after two of his closed herd tested positive for TB despite being disease free for 33 years. Brian Jones is angry that despite his closed herd of 112 Holstein Friesians having never come into contact with any other cattle, they have still been infected with TB. Mr Jones believes the problem could be caused by a nearby badger sett as he said badgers also suffer from bovine TB and transmission of the disease between the two species is common.

“If badgers are responsible for the disease infecting my livestock then it stands to reason that unless the TB is also tackled in the sett, my cattle will continue to be infected on a regular basis,” said Mr Jones.“I’m bloody angry, I made a deliberate decision when I started back in 1973 that I would run a closed herd here for the explicit reason that I did not want to buy in any diseased stock,” added Mr Jones.“As a closed herd my livestock do not come into contact with any other cattle, so the question must be asked; how did my cattle become infected with TB?” asked Mr Jones.“If a reservoir of the disease remains active in the wildlife population, it presents a constant danger to livestock. If we are serious about eradicating bovine TB then the disease must be tackled simultaneously in livestock and wildlife,” added Mr Jones.

Gareth Vaughan, Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) President, said: “Farmers are playing their part. Infected livestock have to be isolated immediately before being taken away and destroyed. It’s important that decisive action is taken against diseased badgers.”

No further comment necessary here we feel. Been there, done that and got a heap of dead cattle to show for it. Unless and until the source of Mr. Jones' bTb outbreak is sorted, then his cattle will keep reacting to their 60 day tests. For years. Stressful, expensive and damned unecessary years as they keep having a 'challenge' from a fatal zoonosis which has no place in the environment at all. It didn't fly in with the man-in-the-moon, and if there is no bought in cattle contact...?

Cattle, and particularly cattle from 'closed herds' like Mr. Jones' are the canaries singing the tune that protected the coalminers. That Defra have ignored their message for so long is not just stupid, it is downright reckless and ultimately dangerous.

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