DEAL WITH ANIMAL DISEASES ALREADY HERE, SAYS CLAAs the Zoological Society of London calls for more to be done to halt the spread of disease from imported animals, the Country Land and Business Association is reminding the Government that more can be done to protect our livestock and wildlife from diseases already present in our countryside - particularly bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
As the Zoological Society of London calls for more to be done to halt the spread of disease from imported animals, the Country Land and Business Association is reminding the Government that more can be done to protect our livestock and wildlife from diseases already present in our countryside - particularly bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Sarah Slade, CLA national adviser on bTB, said: "We urge the Government to concentrate on reducing the levels of bovine TB in our countryside now as well as considering how to prevent further animal diseases entering the country. Failure to tackle bTB impacts on the welfare of farm animals and wildlife, damages farm income, causes unacceptable levels of stress for farms affected and costs the tax payer millions.
"A recent report1 in the South West states that the incidence of the disease is rising by 18 per cent per year and points out that, whilst the value of the cattle culled is refunded, the economic growth of the farm business is stunted.
"Whilst compensation in some part mitigates the economic damage, the Government seems determined, under pressure from the Treasury, to amend the compensation system thereby significantly reducing the compensation paid. This will not only result in many businesses being substantially under-compensated but will result in further businesses being driven to the wall.
"We, yet again, call on the Government to consider very carefully their proposals to further cut the compensation paid. Ultimately, the focus should be on reducing overall incidence of the disease itself - action that will benefit cattle, wildlife, farmers and the Treasury, rather than simply looking for short term financial fixes."
Defra has announced it is to start a small-scale, three year vaccine field study in badgers.
Sarah Slade continued: "Defra's vaccine trial is welcome evidence that the Government is taking the problem seriously, but it is vital that these trials are not used as a delaying tactic once the Krebs badger culling trials are complete. Culling may be a sensitive issue, but it is a crucial interim measure until more long-term solutions are available - such as vaccination. We have already seen bTB increase exponentially throughout the duration of the Krebs trials with spread in cattle and wildlife populations. Failure to take action now will mean the decimation of the cattle industry in this country and the rampant spread of TB throughout all kinds of wildlife, not just the badger populations."
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Sarah Slade MRICS
A chartered surveyor with responsibility for CLA policy on public rights of way and access issues. Provides advice to members on issues arising from public access to the countryside.
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