Following growing concern about the spread of the disease, DEFRA has published consultation document - [link] on the control of zTuberculosis in deer and South American Camelids (alpacas and llamas) and is inviting comments.
The Department is proposing changes to the current arrangements for dealing with bTB in deer and camelids in England. (Wales already has its own policy in place and Scotland are considering their options).
For camelids, proposed powers include statutory removal of reactors, which will be identified prior to removal and a flat rate payment of £750 per animal.
Other proposals include introducing blood tests that can be used outside of a breakdown situation: for example as pre-movement or pre-purchase and in cases where an animal may be showing symptoms which require TB to be ruled out.
Treatment and vaccination either prophylactic, or administered to animals with clinical symptoms of zTB, will also be prohibited.
At present these proposed measures are not mandatory, but Defra have indicated that they plan to introduce statutory powers, if camelid owners are reluctant to take the disease seriously on a voluntary basis.
The cynical amongst us would say that if the Department itself had taken the spread of this disease - [link] 'seriously' then applying punitive measures to other sectors may be given more than a lukewarm welcome.
We understand that the alpaca breed society, the BAS have contacted members with the following message on this Defra TB Consultation:
YOUR VIEW COUNTS
19 days to go ..
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PUT PRESSURE ON DEFRA
Look out for an email in the next few days to guide you through a response to the consultation document.
"Put pressure on Defra." To do what? One hopes that it is not to bury this disease deeper than ever. And thus infect more animals, their owners and vets? - [link]
That would be extremely irresponsible. However, as no details of the BAS 'pressure' are presently available, we will publish the their 'response guidelines' to camelid owners, if and when we receive sight of them.
The “Consultation on Tuberculosis (TB) animal disease controls for deer and camelids” can be found at the
Further documentation and information can be found by following the above link, together with an online survey (and printable version) for your response.
Consultation responses must be received by 6th. May 2014.