NFU: new bovine TB policy will jeopardise ability to control disease

The government has responded to its consultation on the future bovine TB (bTB) strategy and confirmed it will no longer license new intensive badger culls after 2022, alongside shortening and restricting supplementary badger cull licensing.

The NFU said it does not support the measures because it goes against the science and evidence, which shows badger culling is an effective measure to control the spread of bTB, alongside other controls.

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “This decision clearly ignores the government’s own peer-reviewed evidence in the Downs report that showed badger culling in Gloucestershire reduced bTB incidents by 66%. It also ignores its own evidence in its consultation which showed the current strategy, which includes badger controls, delivered reductions in TB incidents in cull areas by 51% after four years.

“This disease continues to have a devastating impact on farming families across the country, causing them huge emotional, mental and financial strain.”

Mr Roberts continued: “Many farming families have struggled with bTB for a very long time. In recent years, they have started to see some light at the end of a very dark tunnel but today’s announcement will drive a coach and horses through this positive hope.

“It is incredibly disappointing and frustrating that the government is pressing ahead with its proposals that abandon badger culling, a hugely successful element of the strategy.”

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