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Review of Government's bovine TB strategy published

Review of Government's bovine TB strategy published

13 Nov 2018

A review of the government’s 25 Year Bovine TB (bTB) Strategy, commissioned by Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove and led by Sir Charles Godfray, has been published today.

Sir Charles Godfray, population biologist and Fellow of the Royal Society said:

"The Review Panel are acutely aware of the burden this disease places on the welfare and well-being of farmers and their families, and the distress many people feel about badger culling. There are no easy answers to reducing disease levels and what is required is new drive and a concerted and concentrated effort by all sectors involved."

The report reviewed the effectiveness of the current strategy and makes a number of recommendations for future strategies around the government’s goal of eradicating the disease by 2038.

Key points made by the report include:

  • Badger culling will reduce instances of TB infection in cattle, however, the extent of this impact has been over-emphasised. 
  • Take up of biosecurity measures on farms has been low. The report stresses "the importance of the industry taking greater ownership of the disease" and implementing measures which have strong evidence to support they work.
  • The government should consider higher-sensitivity tests as there is evidence that the tests currently used in operational field conditions is lower than that estimated in formal trials.
  • Research trials are needed comparing success of badger vaccination with culling, and the more successful method implemented.
  • A new independent body on disease control would be useful to control operations. 

The full report can be found here.

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