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Badger Tuberculosis

Volume 13: debated on Monday 16 November 1981

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if there has been any increase in cases of badger tuberculosis; and to what extent this is reflected in a worsening situation in the frequency of tuberculosis in cattle.

My Department monitors the presence of bovine tuberculosis in badgers through the follow-up of outbreaks of the disease in cattle and through the examination of the carcases of dead badgers that are reported by the public. The information derived from these sources could not however be regarded as sufficiently comprehensive for it to be used as a basis for making judgements on variations in the incidence of the disease in the badger population of the country as a whole.The incidence of the disease in cattle increased recently in the South-West region. There has also been an increase in the number of herd breakdowns attributed to the presence of diseased badgers. This may in part have resulted from greater success in establishing the cause of herd breakdowns, as fewer cases were recorded as being of "obscure" origin.