Following detailed discussions with Defra and the European Commission the English Cattle Industry (NFU, NBA, CLA, TFA, RABDF, LAA, AIMS) has agreed with Defra that a new Bovine TB Eradication Group should be formed. The group will be a joint Defra/industry group and its remit is set out below.
Although the exact make up of the group has still to be finalised, the group title has strung the words 'TB and eradication' into one sentence, which is one samll step towards complying with EU legislation.
We explored this in a posting here in which the European Union, which creates the majority of agricultural legislation in the UK, set out the responsibities of state governments to control, and eradicate bTB.
During the summer, a group of industry representatives visited Brussels to update the Commission on their concerns about Defra's non-policies, which have resulted in the decimation of the cattle industry and culling of cattle on 'an industrial scale' in some counties. The cost is unsustainable, the outcome totally predictable. The new group for England, has the following remit:
“A new England group on eradication of TB in cattle will be set up to make recommendations to the Secretary of State on bovine TB and its eradication. The membership of the group will include representatives from Defra’s Food and Farming Group, Animal Health, the farming industry and the veterinary profession, and it will be convened and facilitated by Defra. The group may invite other experts to contribute to its work as necessary, including other industry bodies and wider interest groups. It will also draw on the advice of the Commission’s TB Task Force, which will be invited to visit GB in early 2009."
Defra have to formulate a 'plan' of eradication for
The group will review the current TB strategy and control measures and develop a plan for reducing the incidence of bovine TB from cattle in England and moving towards eventual eradication. It will also assess options to help farmers in high incidence areas maintain viable businesses when under disease restrictions. A priority output from the work of this group will be a series of measures which can be submitted to the European Commission for approval as part of a formal eradication plan. The group may wish to make recommendations on other issues as they arise, and Defra may also choose to refer specific issues to the group.
This sounds suspiciously like more farm to farm trading, and beef finishing units, all of which cope with the fall out, while doing absolutely nothing about the source of the problem. And welcome though such measures are at the time of restrictions on a herd to trade, make no mistake, any such trade is at a substantial reduction on 'market prices'. The statement concludes:
“The group will look at the options available to address infection in cattle and to reduce the risk of transmission between cattle and between cattle and wildlife, and consider costs and benefits in making recommendations for action. It will consider options for using vaccination in cattle and badgers. It will also consider any exceptional circumstances or new scientific evidence that might arise relating to the established policy on badger culling for control of TB, recognising that the terms of this policy are currently subject to judicial review.
In carrying out this work the group will have full access to information on Defra’s TB budget and be able to make recommendations on its use within Defra’s funding ceilings. It will also be able to make recommendations for additional expenditure where these can be supported by a robust business case.
For further information contact:
Peter Kendall (NFU) – 02476 85 8678
Richard Macdonald (NFU) – 02476 85 8678
Christopher Thomas-Everard (NBA) – 07970 229526
Bill Harper (NBA) – 07831 099182
Ollie Wilson (CLA Communications Director) – 020 7460 7936
Greg Bliss (TFA National Chairman) – 0118 930 6130
Lyndon Edwards (RABDF Chairman) – 0845 4582711
Chris Dodds (LAA) – 07885731502
Alistair Sneddon (LAA) - 07973982441
Norman Bagley (AIMS) - 01609 761 547
UPDATE: There was a comment posted today which alerted us to a simple word realignment between the press release which we posted above, and the notes to editors of the parallel Defra press release. Above, the industry group frames its intentions thus:
“The group will look at the options available to address infection in cattle and to reduce the risk of transmission between cattle and between cattle and wildlife....."
And while the Defra press release has parallel wording in the body of the text, the notes to editors contain a slightly different, and rather delicious difference. We do see a difference in the interpretation, and welcome Defras' clarification. The notes of which editors should take heed state:
The work of the group will include:
* Developing a plan for reducing the incidence of bovine TB from cattle in England and moving towards eventual eradication.
* Assessing options to help farmers in high incidence areas maintain viable businesses when under disease restrictions.
** Looking at the options available to address infection in cattle and to reduce the risk of transmission between cattle and between wildlife and cattle, and consider costs and benefits in making recommendations for action.
* Considering options for using vaccination in cattle and badgers.
* Considering any exceptional circumstances or new scientific evidence that might arise relating to the established policy on badger culling for control of TB.
Our commentator ask "Pedantic, or an important
Time will tell.