The Britsh Llama Society say that bTB is spreading out of control and that llamas are susceptible to bTB. They remind members that "an increasing number of llamas are being found to have bovine TB."
Although the mode of infection is as yet unknown, it is likely to be either llama to llama, cow to llama or badger to llama. This is very concerning especially as we, as an industry, do not have any workable systems in place to reduce the risk of infection.The latter comment would, we think, refer to the lack of any statutory identification or 'movements' database, combined with lack of 'right of entry' for Animal Health Officers on contact or trace visits and a serious lack of a reliable test for TB in camelids.
The bulletin explains that "TB is not caused by the owners lack of knowledge or by bad management. If you have infected animals you should not be embarrassed or ashamed. Our llamas and your fellow members need you to stand up and talk openly about your particular situation. This is the only way that others can become educated about the problem, how to handle it and what our rights are as llama owners."
In stark contrast to the response we understand individual alpaca breeders have had when flagging up their own TB problems, the Llama Society end their TB piece thus:
Unless those affected tell me who you are, I have no way of knowing how many of our members are affected. Your information will be treated in the strictest confidence, and will be known only to those on the board who are actively involved. As a relatively small industry we are much stronger when we talk as one. I can only do this if all those affected as well as those who may be in a hot spot come together and define what is required.
The first step is to let me know in the strictest confidence if you are affected. Please get in touch even if you think I already know.
The contact numbers are HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org%20or" email@example.com or call on 01737-823375. And the bulletin ends:
We, as representitives of the Camelid industry, can't go forward with this unless we know what you want. Those with infected herds know who you are. You have a duty to the greater livestock industry to eradicate bTB from your herds, to do this efficiently and effectively everyone needs to work together. Herds do recover from TB and there is light at the end of the tunnel. The future of llamas in the UK could be seriously damaged if we do not get to grips with this issue.
The bulletin was issued by Liz Butler, Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative of the British Llama Society.