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Bovine TB

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the case for the planned badger cull since the publication of his Department’s most recent figures for new cases of notified bovine tuberculosis. (78618)

We welcome the fact that the number of new bovine TB incidents in Great Britain overall has decreased over the last few months. However, given the cyclical nature of the disease it is too early to draw any conclusions about whether this is a temporary or more sustained reduction and we will continue to monitor the position closely. The reduction is likely to be caused by a complex combination of factors.

In considering whether to cull badgers, we are taking into account all the evidence including the science, and considering how an effective cull might be delivered on the ground. Any policy must form part of a holistic approach to bovine TB that balances cattle and wildlife controls.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the members of the Gamma Interferon Working Group are; and when each was appointed. (78345)

Members of the working group were drawn from officials across the Department, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the State Veterinary Service, the Welsh Assembly Government and SEERAD. They were appointed in October 2005.