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Bovine TB

Volume 546: debated on Thursday 21 June 2012

Following the review of the Bovine TB Eradication Group for England (TBEG), I am pleased to announce that DEFRA will be establishing a new Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG).

TBEG was set up in November 2008 to provide advice to Government on tackling bovine TB which continues to be one of the most pressing animal health issues in England. It is a devastating disease, leading to the slaughter of over 26,000 cattle last year and costing the taxpayer about £100 million a year in England alone.

I would like to thank the members of TBEG, whose valuable work will be continued by the new group. TBEAG’s membership will be broadened to include additional areas of scientific expertise and conservation knowledge as well as a wider range of farming experience. The new advisory group will bring together the farming industry, veterinary profession, Government and other stakeholders to provide expert advice on how we can best work together to tackle this terrible disease.

TBEAG will operate as a sub-group of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE).

TBEAG will be chaired by John Cross, current chairman of the English Beef and Lamb Sector Body (EBLEX); a former chair of the animal health and welfare committee of the National Farmers Union and farmer of a mixed livestock and arable enterprise in Norfolk.

The group will help to develop a long-term strategy to stop the spread of bovine TB and move towards its eradication. It will consider a comprehensive and evidence-based package of measures, making best use of all the available tools. TBEAG will also consider the respective roles and responsibilities of Government, the farming industry, the veterinary profession and other stakeholders, and will advise on funding and budgetary issues. The group will advise on compliance with EU legal requirements and on the development of the UK’s EU-funded eradication plan. It will provide advice on the full range of issues relating to bovine TB at the request of the AHWBE or Ministers.