Pet welfare charity The RSPCA is calling on farmers and vets to have their say on the charity’s proposals for new management measures aimed at eradicating the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection.
The charity is holding a six-week consultation period, ending on 1 November on how to best deal with the disease, and avoid future culls.
The RSPCA’s report: “It’s not all black and white: Managing bTB: an evidence-based approach” suggests a number of new approaches to tackle the disease, providing details of the thinking and science behind the animal charity’s consultation.
The RSPCA’s new proposals include:
- The formation of bTB control co-operatives
- Strengthening biosecurity, biocontainment and cow resilience
- Funding of control measures
- Strengthening and supporting the role of vets
- Improving the approach to and accuracy of bTB testing
- Ensuring evidence-based communication and advice
- Moving to badger vaccination
Adam Grogan, the RSPCA’s head of wildlife said: “Current bTB eradication measures are not working. The proposals in our consultation are supported by the evidence set out in our new report, providing fresh evidence-based solutions to the problem of bTB.
“We are consulting because we want to give farmers and vets the chance to have their say on our proposals which include approaches designed to effectively tackle this disease. We would welcome farmers’ and vets’ feedback on our proposals.”
Emily Coughlan, vet and RSPCA ruminant expert, added: “Bovine tuberculosis and the measures that are currently being used to tackle it are having serious emotional and financial impacts on farmers, their families and their communities as well as causing suffering and death to huge numbers of cattle and badgers.
“The consultation is the result of new thinking based on robust science and conversations with a number of farmers and vets working at the frontline of bTB control. Our proposals to address bTB puts every farmer at the centre of their own tailored management programme, whereas up until now, the only option being offered to farming communities is to kill badgers.”
The charity added that it found the announcement of a further 11 new cull licences, to add to the 42 cull zones already in operation, “extremely frustrating”, given that recent reported statistics “consistently show” this policy does not work.