The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed calls by a Parliamentary Select Committee for Defra to adopt a multi-faceted approach to tackling the growing problem of cattle TB, including control of badgers in endemic areas.

Commenting on the publication of the House of Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom) report 'Badgers and cattle TB: the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB' BVA President Nick Blayney said: "The multi-faceted approach unanimously recommended by the Committee reflects our long-held view that both badgers and cattle are significant animals in the spread of TB and that both aspects must be tackled if TB is to be controlled and eradicated.

"For too long debate on TB control and eradication has been polarised. This has held up progress. EFRACom has addressed the very complex issues involved in a thorough and dispassionate manner.

"The current approach, whereby farmers apply restrictions on the movement of high-risk cattle, pre- and post-movement testing and the application of farm health planning to improve on-farm biosecurity is clearly not working, and it ignores the role of an infected badger population as was confirmed by the Bourne Report.

"Vaccination of both species involved is under investigation and we support the call for adequate Defra funding. However, the current situation must be addressed and it is time for Government to accept that the loss of so many cattle is a cost financially and emotionally that neither the country nor especially the farming industry can continue to bear. "

British Veterinary Association

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