UK: More farmers battle TB as new figures show 3,000 cows are culled in one month

Badger Cub trio

Badger Cub trio - Credit: Adrian Hinchliffe

The number of cattle slaughtered because of TB has risen again this month bringing the total number of cattle culled to 186,664 from January 2008 to January 2013 in Great Britain.

The latest figures released by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) showed 3,215 cattle were slaughtered across Great Britain in January, a 24.2% increase on the same time last year, and the month-on-month figures also show a jump.

In Wales the picture has worsened considerably despite a vaccination programme for badgers which had its first year in 2012. The number of cattle compulsorily slaughtered there was 819 in January 2013, compared with 419 for the same period in 2012 and an increase of 95.4%.

Last month’s official TB statistics also made devastating reading showing a 10% increase in cattle lost to TB for the whole Great Britain from 2011 to 2012. More than 38,000 cattle have now been compulsorily slaughtered because of TB in Great Britain in 2012 – and more than 28,000 in England alone.

National Farmers’ Union vice president Adam Quinney said: “With 2012 also recording the highest number of cattle slaughtered in England to TB in a decade, they show more and more farmers are battling TB on their farms. Today’s figures make awful reading.

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“I am a cattle farmer and I know these numbers have increased despite additional cattle controls, more pre-movement testing and stricter on-farm biosecurity measures which were introduced in July last year. New tough on-farm rules were also introduced in January 2013 as part of the Government’s TB eradication plan which aims to tackle all aspects of TB infection in the countryside.

“We are playing our part in solving this terrible disease but I remain convinced by the research both here and aboard that shows that wildlife management is essential if we are to successfully tackle TB.”

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