Farming

TB incidence falls

FIGURES released by the Office of National Statistics, show fewer cases in the period Jan-Oct 2014, compared to the previous year.badger_2087377b

The number of new herd incidents during the period January to October 2014 was 3,852 compared to 3,962 for January to October 2013. The number of tests on officially TB free herds was 63,962 during January to October 2014, compared to 58,837 during January to October 2013.

The number of cattle compulsorily slaughtered as reactors or direct contacts was 26,775 during January to October 2014, compared to 27,465 during January to October 2013.

The regional and county-level statistics published as part of this statistical notice show that there are considerable differences in the distribution and frequency of bovine TB across GB. Scotland, which has officially TB-free (OTF) status, has very few breakdowns of the disease. The incidence of new TB breakdowns is very low and stable and is largely driven by sporadic introductions of disease into Scotland. In Wales, TB prevalence varies across regions.

The Central, South West and some areas in the South East regions have high levels of bovine TB whereas the regions in the North West and North East of Wales have relatively low levels. To attempt to contain the disease and prevent its spread into these lower-incidence regions, all herds in Wales are tested for the disease annually.

The strategically located Intensive Action Area (north Pembrokeshire and small parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire) has one of the highest incidence rates of bovine TB in Wales. The ONS report notes that extra measures are in place in the Intensive Action Area to control the disease, such as stricter cattle controls and improved biosecurity.

The Welsh Government has not followed the badger cull route of disease control.

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Dayne Stone

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