Latest bovine TB statistics published
The most recent bovine TB statistics show that the disease has caused the slaughter of a further 14,413 cattle in England since the start of this year.
This unacceptable loss illustrates the enormity of the task at hand to bring this disease under control. But it’s not all bad news. We have a comprehensive strategy in place to make England TB free by 2038, which includes stringent cattle controls, measures to help farmers prevent the spread of infection on their farms, an injectable badger vaccination programme and research into cattle and oral badger vaccinations. These latest statistics suggest that by using all of these measures, we may be starting to see an end to the worsening disease picture that has devastated so many herds.
It’s important that we don’t overplay the recent statistics because they are affected by the amount of testing carried out. There is still a long term trend that has seen TB increase over the last decades. That trend needs to be reversed, which we are still far from achieving. The monthly incidence rate (i.e. the proportion of herds tested that return new positive TB results and are put under restrictions) for May has remained, as it was in the previous month, at 3.0%. We clearly cannot be complacent, especially as bovine TB continues to spread geographically, posing a major threat to yet more farmers across England. That is why we are using all the tools we have available to tackle the disease and introducing more ways to stop its spread, such as a new funding scheme to encourage badger vaccination in the ‘edge area’ to help prevent it taking hold there.
The most recent bovine TB statistics can be viewed here.