The BVA has welcomed the Government’s intention to reassess its TB strategy to look at both vaccine and culling options.
The BVA has welcomed the Government’s intention to reassess its TB strategy to look at both vaccine and culling options as part of a science-led policy of badger control in TB prevalent areas.
However, the association said it had some concerns that DEFRA’s announcement could restrict the Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP) – causing delays in the introduction of controls in some parts of the country.
BVA president Bill Reilly said: “The continued spread of bovine TB has significant and increasing costs to the industry and the taxpayer, while animal welfare issues increase. It is a matter of urgency that the new Government develops a robust and holistic policy to bTB in cattle and in wildlife as soon as possible.
“It is important the BVDP continues to develop TB vaccines for use in badgers and to better learn about their deployment. There will be disappointment in the areas now removed from the project, as farmers who had committed to support the BVDP will continue to be left with no new action to control TB in badgers on their farms.
“There will be lessons learned from watching the situation in Wales, particularly the practicalities of delivery, but this needs to be balanced against the ongoing need for prompt action.”
The president of the BCVA, Keith Cutler, added: “The planned cuts particularly affect TB hotspots – further delay in action in these endemic areas will only make it harder to clear.
“The announcement offers some hope; the Government says it will look into ‘other options for how vaccination might be deployed more widely as part of a badger control policy’, but a long delay in further action is in no one’s interest. We urge the Government to put forward its plans soon.”