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Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of cases of bovine tuberculosis in the South West. (253930)

We have in place a range of cattle measures to reduce the spread and incidence of disease, not just in the south-west but across the whole country.

DEFRA's testing and slaughter policy has been in place for a number of years and significant steps have been taken to supplement this including: introduction of a zero tolerance regime for overdue tests; changes to the compensation system; pre-movement tests for cattle moving from high risk herds; and the extension of the use of the gamma interferon test; as well as encouraging good husbandry practice.

We are also actively pursuing the future use of vaccination of cattle and wildlife as a means of tackling bovine TB, alongside our current control measures.

We recognise that bovine tuberculosis is a serious disease and we are committed to tackling this.