Badger Trust calls for Government to urgently act on cattle-to-cattle transmission of bTB

Badger Trust focuses on cattle-to-cattle transmission of bTB in its response to Government’s Call for Views

Badger Trust today submitted its formal response to the Government’s bovine tuberculosis (bTB) Call for Views, urging the Government to make cattle-to-cattle transmission of the disease the priority for future action. The response stated that Badger Trust does not believe options suggested in the Call for Views go far enough, or that they place the emphasis correctly in order to be effective.

Dawn Varley, Acting CEO of Badger Trust, said: ‘We have always believed that cattle measures are the answer to solving the bTB problem, and that badgers are no more than a costly distraction to the main issue – that of cattle-to-cattle transmission.

‘Unless cattle-to-cattle transmission is addressed in an urgent and meaningful way, the Government will make little progress towards its aim of eradicating bTB.
Badgers are not the problem here, but they are allocated all the blame and continue to be killed in the tens of thousands – and for what benefit?’

She continued: ‘We urge the Government to take this opportunity to make significant changes to how the problem is addressed for the benefit of both badgers and cattle, with cattle measures as the starting point. Whilst we do not claim to be experts in cattle husbandry, we see clear shortcomings in the current test approach and testing programme, the lack of restrictions on cattle movements, and the failure to make mandatory and enforceable measures to gain any real traction against this disease.’

The Call for Views on ‘possible future measures to accelerate bTB disease eradication in England’ from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, focuses on cattle movement, testing, compensation and biosecurity, and follows the consultation on proposals announced at the end of January on changes to the policy to eradicate the disease in England.

As highlighted in Badger Trust’s response to the bTB consultation (submitted March 24th), the current bTB eradication policy has seen over 140,000 badgers killed to date to cover for what the Trust believes are appalling failures in Government policy and farming practice. It estimates that the consultation proposals will see a further 140,000 badgers added to that total.

Badger Trust’s full response to the ‘Call for Views’ can be read in the download below.

Badger Trust response to Defra consultat
Download • 827KB

Further information

Call for Views (closes 11.59pm 21st April 2021)