Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welsh Announcement

Today, Rural Affairs Minister in the Welsh Assembly, Elin Jones said she had taken the decision to sign and lay the Order to give Welsh ministers the power to issue a cull and/or vaccination of badgers in Wales.
The Independent has the story.

And some background to the Welsh decision is described by Dr. Christianne Glossop, on a recent visit to the TB conference in New Zealand where she told her audience:
" We slaughtered 12,000 cattle infected with tuberculosis in Wales last year. In some areas of Wales, the infection rates are as high as 15%.

In contrast, New Zealand has an infection rate of 0.35% and it’s going down. You have nearly wiped this disease out through rigorous pursuit of pest management, stock movement controls and robust government policies built on co-operation between farmers, local councils and government."

New Zealand offers the following reminder to its farmers about their responsibilities, when dealing with the country's wildlife reservoir.


Anonymous said...

UK cattle face TB doomsday, claims top vet

Oct 1 2009 by Andrew Forgrave, Daily Post

BRITAIN’S dairy industry is “doomed” unless it takes more effective steps to control the spread of endemic diseases like TB and bovine virus diarrhoea, according to a leading cattle vet.

If it is to save itself the sector must drastically cut the number of non-slaughter journeys by cattle, said Devon practitioner Dick Sibley.

Figures from the British Cattle Movements Service show that about four million cattle, or half the total UK cattle herd, are moved from one premises to another each year.

“If you set out to design a system that guarantees we will continue to have problems with endemic disease, then I could not think of a better one than this,” he said.

Speaking at a conference on infectious disease at the Royal Veterinary College, Mr Sibley warned that economic pressures on the UK dairy industry are increasing the risk of disease transmission – and its potential impact once it does enter a herd.

Cattle numbers are increasing in those areas like Devon and Cheshire which already have among the highest population densities for dairy animals in the world – and are also the main hot spots in the current bovine TB epidemic.

Farmers feel compelled to buy in heifers to replace animals culled as TB reactors, as they will lose bonus payments from customers who demand that they maintain levels of production.

But moving cattle of unknown disease status to new premises greatly increased the risk of bringing in new diseases, he said.

Other contributory factors included the concentration of cattle numbers into fewer but larger units, an emphasis on cattle kept indoors all year round, and breeding for high yielding animals that are more vulnerable to disease.

A shortage of skilled manpower is compounding the problem, he said.

Mr Sibley stressed farmers have little or no control over some key risk factors – particularly movements of badgers and the presence of diseased herds on neighbouring premises.

“So these farmers with big herds in high density areas and neighbours that have the disease are done for unless we can do something serious to manage the risks,” said Mr Sibley.

If DEFRA was unwilling to take on the task of tackling the problem, a new, independent livestock disease agency should be created instead, he said.

Running costs should shared among stakeholders, including cereal producers who supply animal feed to dairy farmers.

Matthew said...

Anon 12.35.
Cattle under restriction are going nowhere - except direct slaughter, or very occasionally under strict regulated Defra license to a holding of the same status, which means they are on back to back 60 day testing..

Dick Sibley is stretching it.
"Figures from the British Cattle Movements Service show that about four million cattle, or half the total UK cattle herd, are moved from one premises to another each year".
Nope. Figures from BCMS showed that in 2005, of 14,661,000 movements of Data - not to be confused (as the Badger Trust and Bourne did) with movements of cattle, movements onto another holding accounted for 2,718.599, of which approx 420,000 were calves under 42 days.

As Mr. Sibley is gainfully employed preMT any cattle moving in annual or two year testing regimes, is he saying that his very own 'beneficial crisis' is having no effect?