MP pressed for more action on bTB

26 April 2016

Dairy farmer and CLA Cumbria branch President Chris Addison met with Rory Stewart MP to press for more action from government in tackling Bovine TB (bTB).

With new post-movement testing introduced earlier this month, discussions centred on the effectiveness of skin and blood tests and how combining the two could improve detection rates.

Also on the agenda was the need for better handling facilities on farms, improved communications between agencies and the requirement for more targeted investment from government and industry.

Chris, who hosted the meeting at his farm at King’s Meaburn near Appleby-in-Westmorland, said: “We must do everything in our power to prevent bTB taking hold in the North. Cumbria and Lancashire are classed as low risk areas for the disease, yet we still have new cases presenting.

“Last year my farm went into a radial testing zone - farmers in the low risk area need to be much more aware of the disease and what it means when you or your neighbour are affected.”

The meeting was also attended by Hexham and Northern Mart managing director Robert Addison and Ian McGrath, a Cheshire farmer with a bTB breakdown herd.

Robert Addison said: “I’m pleased that Mr Stewart is willing to hear about the issues surrounding bTB from all angles. It’s vital farmers are able to maintain trading at the same time as combating the spread of the disease. The provision of good quality and timely information is the key to making this happen.”

During the meeting Mr Stewart agreed to press for greater flexibility in the Farm Productivity funding so that mobile handling facilities can be included in the grants. He also said he would look for improved collaboration between the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the British Cattle Movement Service databases.