Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Defra plans to continue bTB badger culls
The effectiveness of culling badgers to eradicate bTB has been the subject of much debate.
A consultation on new proposals has been launched.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has set out proposals for the next phase of its bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication strategy for England, including plans to continue with the controversial policy of badger culling.

Part of its strategy to eradicate bTB in England by 2038, Defra’s new proposals will keep badger culling as an option in the High-Risk Area and Edge Areas where there are high levels of bTB infection in cattle and where badgers are considered to be involved in spreading the disease to herds.

The proposals would also end fixed-duration culls, allowing them to continue for as long as is deemed necessary by the UK’s chief veterinary officer, followed by badger vaccination.

According to government figures, in the 12 months to September 2023, the number of new bTB breakdowns in cattle fell to an almost 20-year low. Recent research, funded by Defra, showed that in the first 52 areas where badger culls have been carried out, there had been an average 56 per cent drop in rates of bTB breakdowns in cattle after four years of culling.

However, the success of badger culling has been disputed. A study published in Vet Record last year found that badger culling did not affect herd bTB incidence or prevalence. The policy has also been opposed by some animal welfare and conservation groups.

As part of its bTB eradication strategy, Defra is also proposing that additional information about animal and herd-level bTB risk should be published to help those purchasing cattle.

A five-week consultation on the new proposals, which will close on 22 April 2024, has been launched.

Christine Middlemiss, UK chief veterinary officer, said: “Our strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England is turning the tide on this disease with the lowest number of new bTB breakdowns in nearly twenty years. We are making good progress to eradicating the disease by 2038 as we have committed to do.

“The proposals set out today will ensure this downward trend continues, and all culling decisions taken under the new targeted approach will continue to be led by the very best scientific and epidemiological evidence.”

The proposals have been criticised by Badgers Trust. Peter Hambly, the charity’s executive director, said: “We urge individuals, communities, and stakeholders to work together to tackle this disease, which can only be done by accurate herd management, more rigorous reliable testing and cattle vaccination.

“The UK government appears only to listen to stakeholders with vested interests and is fixated instead on a badger-focused policy that affects all of us and our right to nature.”

Image © Shutterstock

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.