The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomes the Government's intention to reassess its TB strategy promising to look at both vaccine and culling options as part of a science led policy of badger control in TB prevalent areas. However the BVA has some concerns that Defra's announcement to restrict the Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP) could cause delays in the introduction of controls in some parts of the country.

BVA President Professor Bill Reilly said:

"The continued spread of bovine TB has significant and increasing costs to the industry and the taxpayer, whilst animal welfare issues increase. It is a matter of urgency that the new government team develop a robust and holistic policy to tackle bTB in cattle and in wildlife as soon as possible.

"It is important that the Badger Vaccine Deployment Project 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 learnt from watching the situation in Wales particularly about the practicalities of delivery but this needs to be balanced against the ongoing need for prompt action."

The President of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, 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 saying it will to 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."

Source:
British Veterinary Association

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