New figures from Defra have revealed that 32,620 cattle were slaughtered in Great Britain due to bovine TB during 2013 – equivalent to 90 animals killed per day as a result of the disease.
The figures, published on March 13, also showed reported an incidence rate (the proportion of previously TB-free herds found to be infected with new incidences of the disease) of 4.5% – meaning the rate has been at an “unacceptably high level” of above 4% for a decade.
Farming minister George Eustice said: “Our efforts to control bovine TB have kept outbreaks steady over the last ten years, but we are still nowhere near an acceptable position. Almost 90 cattle are being slaughtered each day due to bovine TB and we cannot allow that to continue.
“Today’s figures are another reminder that we need to do all in our power to bear down on a disease that is costing taxpayers millions each year and taking a terrible economic and emotional toll on our farmers.”
The figures are revealed ahead of Defra’s 25-year TB eradication strategy, which will be published this spring. The strategy, which the department consulted on last summer, included proposals for disease surveillance, pre- and post-movement cattle testing, removal of cattle exposed to bTB and wildlife controls including culling and vaccination trials.
According to Defra, the strategy will also focus on the development of new techniques such as badger and cattle vaccines and new diagnostic tests that could one day offer new ways of tackling the disease.
- Latest statistics on the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in Great Britain, published March 13.