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Bovine Tuberculosis: Vaccination

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable he has set for the bovine tuberculosis vaccination of badgers project; and what steps he has taken to encourage (a) farmers and (b) landowners to participate in the project. (293892)

The information requested is as follows.


The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) has begun to sign up farmers in the selected areas to participate in the project, and contractors to carry out vaccination are being recruited though an EU tender. Vaccination will begin in summer 2010, when the vaccine is expected to be licensed, and will take place for at least five years in each area. Sign-up and vaccination in the areas will be phased in over two years to allow time to train contractors. A chart showing the phasing process will be placed in the Library shortly.

Encouraging farmers and landowners

Communication is an important part of the project. Following is an outline of our communications which are aimed at informing all stakeholders of the details of the project and encouraging participation.

DEFRA and Fera held meetings earlier this year with local vets and key regional representatives to inform them and enable vets to talk to their clients about the project. We have established a regular newsletter to keep local vets, regional representatives and others up to date.

An inquiries phoneline and e-mail address have been set up and publicised.

A new website has been launched, which gives an opportunity for farmers to sign up.

Literature has been produced. This literature is also being distributed to farmers through DEFRA’s Livestock Market Roadshow this autumn.

The project team have given a presentation on the project to farmers at one local veterinary practice meeting, with opportunity for sign-up and will be doing the same with at least one further practice.

To encourage farmers to participate, Fera are writing to all cattle farmers within the selected areas to invite them to apply to take part in the project and to attend local meetings to find out more. The first of these meetings has been held.

Articles have been published in DEFRA’s magazine for farmers and another is planned for the new year.