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BVA welcomes Defra announcement on bovine TB
"We hope this news will provide further motivation for those farms that are currently TB free but do not yet meet the six-year threshold" - Simon Doherty, BVA president.
Move to reduce testing burden on lower-risk farms 

BVA president Simon Doherty has welcomed a government announcement on bovine TB (bTB).

On Tuesday (18 December), Defra announced that farmers with herds in the Edge Area of England who have remained clear of bovine TB for at least six years will be able to revert to annual, rather than six-monthly, testing.

Defra hopes the move will reduce the testing burden on lower-risk farms and incentivise other farms to take steps to mitigate their risk of bTB. The change will take effect in May 2019.

“From stringent biosecurity to the application of risk-based trading principles, farmers need to be doing everything they can to stop this disease spreading,” said farming minister George Eustice. “As a Government we will also continue to robustly apply a range of interventions, including cattle movement controls, increased and better TB testing and licensed badger control in certain areas.”

Responding, BVA president Simon Doherty said the BVA was 'pleased to see the government taking a risk-based approach to TB testing' and reducing the burden on lower-risk farms. He added the change reflects recommendations BVA made earlier this year, that Cattle Health Certification Standards should be prioritised and incentivised, with compliance linked to reduced testing and regulatory burden.

“Farms that have been accredited under the industry-led scheme require a raft of biosecurity measures to be in place and we hope this news will provide further motivation for those farms that are currently TB free but do not yet meet the six-year threshold,” he said.

“We welcome the second round of applications for the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme, and the accompanying grants, to create a buffer zone between the highest and lowest risk areas of England. Halting the spread of bovine TB is essential and it is vital that we continue to take a comprehensive, collaborative and risk-based approach to curbing this devastating disease.”

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”