Thursday, 12 November 2015

New industry bovine TB resources launched

It is no understatement to say that bovine TB has a devastating impact on England’s beef and dairy farmers and their communities. Between January and August 2015, 22,648 cattle were compulsorily slaughtered due to the disease in Great Britain, making it one of the biggest challenges facing the industry, both in financial and emotional terms.

While there is no one single measure that can act as a panacea for this distressing disease, there are plenty of practical actions that farmers can take to protect themselves and their neighbours from bovine TB as much as possible.

Defra Farming Minister George Eustice speaking at the launch
It is these simple steps that are the focus of a new, cross-industry TB biosecurity plan, launched by Defra Minister George Eustice at an event at Hartpury College, in Gloucestershire, today. Compiled with input from experts and vets, the Bovine TB Biosecurity Five Point Plan sets out recommendations to improve disease prevention on farm and in the cattle trade. Behind the five simple actions is a guidance document which provides detailed information on the biosecurity risks and how to reduce them, agreed by AHDB, the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Landex and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The plan is one of the key features of a new online TB hub, which has been designed to provide a ‘go-to’ place for British beef and dairy farmers looking for answers to any questions they may have related to bovine TB. The website,, which was developed by AHDB with input from a number of other industry organisations, includes advice and links to further information, covering everything from biosecurity to trading rules.

The path to eradicating bovine TB from England is a long and difficult one. In July 2013, Defra launched a strategy to make England TB free within 25 years. The plan launched today by George Eustice, who has personal experience of dealing with bovine TB on his own farm, marks another step in the right direction.

As the Minister said in his speech: “I encourage all cattle farmers to visit the new TB hub and think about the actions they could take to make a difference to improving the security of their herd - with outbreaks often costing thousands of pounds, it makes sense to take action now.” has been developed by AHDB with input from APHA, BCVA, Defra, Landex and the NFU.

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