The NFU today brought together many leading experts from across the country to discuss the scientific basis for eradicating bovine TB with farmers battling against the disease.
Speakers at the event, held at the NFU’s headquarters at Stoneleigh, included Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Boyd; Professor Glyn Hewinson, lead scientist for TB at the Animal and Plant Health Agency; Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales; and Gareth Enticott, senior lecturer in the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff University.
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters, told the event: “This conference is not about policy. It’s about the best science that is going to pave the way to beating bovine TB. It is a unique opportunity for scientists to engage with farmers. It is very much about understanding the basics and really trying to appreciate the complexities.
“Beating this disease is going to hurt, it’s not going to be easy and the science and investment in the science is going to be crucial for success. I strongly believe that the Government strategy – which was launched in April of this year – offers a much needed opportunity for looking forwards.
“I have driven the length and breadth of the country, and we’ve come such a long way. There is a real understanding that we can’t beat this disease with cattle movement measures alone and farmers realise that taking out endemic disease in badgers is essential. It is about using every tool in the box.
“The NFU is leaving no stone unturned in its mission to beat this disease and is not prepared to wait until after next year’s election to see further action taken. We absolutely take on board the message from across the country that eradicating bTB has to be de-politicised,” Ms Batters said.
“TBEAG – the TB Eradication Advisory Group – at present is an advisory group which reports to Ministers and includes vets, farmers, scientists, and civil servants. The NFU is suggesting a rewriting of the terms of reference for TBEAG to become the TB Eradication Board for England, an independent body equipped with the teeth that will be needed.
“We are also working with Dairy Co and Eblex to roll out the South West TB Farm Advisory Service across the country. It will be funded by Rural Development Programme for England and provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide specialist knowledge and help to all regions in the fight against this terrible disease.”