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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More on bovine TB

I have long argued that the UK Government's sledgehammer approach to tackling bovine TB in cattle is questionable. They are focussing on one possible carrier of the disease when many other animals can also pass it onto cattle, including farm cats and when all the scientific evidence points to the fact that culling badgers is a short term solution that achieves only small reductions in the incidence of the disease and in fact spreads it beyond the cull area.

That UK Ministers have failed in their duty to introduce comprehensive measures to tackle this disease is illustrated by this article in April's New Scientist, which has only just come to my attention. The effective management of cattle movements and proper disease control measures are crucial in stopping the spread of the bTB, yet no Government within the UK appears to have got that right or to have given it the correct priority.

As the New Scientist reports, these measures must include a recognition that the bacterium that causes tuberculosis in cattle remains alive in the soil for up to four months. Putting uncontaminated cattle into such a field to graze could well cause them to catch the disease. Perhaps the government should use its resources to research this link more thoroughly instead of sending marksmen to hunt down scapegoats.
The bacterium originates in the Slurry tank or pit ( as well as other micro-organisms e-coli, cryptosporidium, salmonella, typhoid, anthrax) and then is slurry is sprayed onto ground as fertiliser. Both cow and badger are ground feeders....
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