Bovine tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a complex infectious disease and a significant risk to animal health and welfare due to its increasing prevalence in UK cattle herds and other mammalian species, particularly badgers. It is a zoonotic disease, which means it can pass from animals to humans and is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M.bovis).

bTB is one of the UK's most difficult animal health issues, with control measures costing the livestock industry and government millions of pounds a year.

The House of Commons issued a Standard Note explaining the government position on badger culling in England and Wales.

We are currently working with the species divisions and Branches in the devolved regions to identify priority endemic UK diseases, and develop action plans for raising awareness amongst the profession and other stakeholders.

BVA positions

    BVA activity

    BVA has produced:

    Further information

    Delayed Removal of In Calf TB Reactors and Direct Contacts in England

    From 1 May in England only, the delayed removal of TB reactors or Direct Contacts (DCs) that are due to calve within the 60 days following their identification will be considered subject to a satisfactory APHA Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA) and compliance with defined conditions.

    Where an APHA VRA concludes that delayed removal may be possible, veterinarians will be required to provide a signed declaration confirming that certain conditions for approval can be met. Completion of the veterinary declaration will be a private arrangement between the keeper and the keeper’s chosen veterinarian and at the keeper’s expense.

    More information can be found in the OV Briefing Note.

    Lay TB testing

    In April 2013, BVA agreed a position on lay TB testing:

    1. BVA believes that there is a role for Lay TB testers as part of a veterinary-led team, under veterinary direction
    2. How and whether that role is utilised should be a matter of choice for practices and would be based on individual circumstances and business plans
    3. All Lay TB testers must be appropriately trained, regulated and subject to standards of quality assurance