We already have in place a series of measures designed to reduce the geographic spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in England and to achieve a sustained reduction in high incidence areas, including Shropshire. Our plan is to continue to work in partnership with interested parties to embed and monitor these measures, some of which have only been in operation for a matter of months. Examples of this include pre-movement testing phase one and the more extensive use of the gamma interferon blood test.
We are committed to introducing the second phase of pre-movement testing in March 2007. This will extend the policy to younger animals, and continue to fund a wide-ranging bTB research programme, using the emerging evidence to inform our policies. We will also work with our industry partners to further raise awareness of the crucial role farmers have to play in controlling bTB by complying with statutory policies, applying disease prevention measures and good husbandry practices. We are also considering the evidence and practicalities of adding badger culling to these tools for preventing bTB in cattle.