Defra have posted the Tb statistics for January and February 2007. Until the page is updated, they can be viewed
on the DEFRA website
After a couple of baking earth summers, we were very pessimistic of a downturn in figures as we told you in previous postings here
And the CVO told us in her statement last year discussing the alleged 'drop' in cases, that cattle with very early NVL reactions to Weybridge tuberculin, were likely to "be found a later stage of the disease" after the swop to the Lelystadt antigen. This combined with dry weather food shortages last summer, unavailable to a burgeoning population of badgers was a recipe for what we are experiencing now. Which is a 21.5 per cent increase in New Herd Incidents during Jan - Feb 2007 over the same period last year.
Worse than that - if anything could be - is a comparison of these two months NHI outbreaks to those recorded in the whole of last year.
Wales recorded 722 NHI in 2006, but has had 189 in the first two months of 2007 and the West region, 2140 NHI in 2006, and 489 in Jan / Feb 2007. These outbreaks are up to 26 per cent of the whole of 2007's tally. Defra's 'Northern' region, mainly Staffs / Derbys, had 413 NHI logged in 2006 and 75 in the first 2 months of 2007.
Many farmers have slightly delayed their routine tests during Jan / Feb, to enable them to sell cattle in the Spring without the extra cost and hassle of preMT. The March stats we are told, are more than interesting. SVS tell us they were 'busy'.
And predictably if not consistantly, Mr. Miliband has said that he cannot formulate policy on a short term 'blip'. Well, isn't that exactly what he said (and did) last year when the figures plummeted in the spring? He trod water on taking action with Defra's much vaunted 'partnership' policy of a 3 pronged attack on bovine TB even though his own published papers put the root cause of last year's blip, on the use of Dutch tuberculin antigen which would not find the early NVL cases but would pick them up at a later stage of the disease cycle. Which is exactly what has happened. The farmers delivered. Defra did not, and this is the result.