New TB plan for Wales welcome, but vets urge caution over trap and test badger measures

20 June 2017

Welsh Government has announced a new Wales TB Eradication Programme Delivery Plan introducing a regionalised approach to bovine TB eradication and, for the first time, introducing targeted culling of test-positive badgers in areas where badgers are contributing to the persistence of disease in chronic herd breakdowns.

Commenting on the new delivery plan, Sarah Carr, President of the BVA Welsh Branch, said: “We fully support the introduction of a regionalised approach to eliminating bovine TB in Wales.

"TB incidence and prevalence are not uniformly distributed throughout the country and so it makes sense to take a more targeted approach in deploying strict cattle controls and wildlife measures.

“However, while more robust plans to tackle the wildlife reservoir of the disease are welcome, we would urge caution over moving forward with a trap, test, remove policy. We know there are limitations in the diagnostic tests that are currently available, which could result in infected badgers being released. We are currently awaiting the results of a research project underway in Northern Ireland and it is too early to draw conclusions from that work.”

John Fishwick, BVA Junior Vice President, added: “Halting the spread of bovine TB is essential and we therefore welcome the introduction of post movement testing of all cattle moved into the low risk areas. 

“Until the results of the research project are complete we would urge caution in introducing a trap, test and remove policy and would ask Welsh Government to look again at introducing targeted humane culling of badgers in line with the evidence from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.”

In October, BVA, the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) and the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) submitted a joint consultation response to Welsh Government proposals.

BVA Media Office