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Defra extends badger cull consultation
The constulation has been extended by three weeks.
The government wants to keep culling as an option in fight against bTB.

A public consultation on retaining badger culling as part of the government’s bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication strategy for England has been extended by three weeks.

Originally due to end on 22 April 2024, the consultation will now close on 13 May 2024. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that it has extended the deadline in order to give people more time to reply.

The proposals would see badger culling kept as an option in areas where there are high levels of cattle infections and evidence suggesting that badgers are playing a role in spreading the disease. The culls would be reviewed annually by the UK’s chief veterinary officer.

The proposals also include plans to extend badger vaccination programmes, including in areas where badger culling has ended. The government aims to eradicate bTB in England by 2038.

Lawyers representing the animal welfare organisations Badger Trust and Wild Justice recently wrote to Defra arguing that the consultation is unlawful due to omissions in the consultation materials provided. Defra has responded directly to the letter.

Badger Trust has claimed the extension to the consultation is a result of their actions.

Peter Hambly, executive director of Badger Trust, said: “Extending the response time for a flawed consultation is a start, and it wouldn’t have happened without the challenge by Badger Trust and Wild Justice.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.