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Bovine TB

Volume 609: debated on Thursday 5 May 2016

6. What progress the Government are making on delivering their strategy to eradicate bovine TB. (904825)

The Government are determined to use all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible. We have continued to make improvements to cattle movement controls, most recently introducing a requirement for post-movement testing of cattle travelling from the high-risk to the low-risk area. At the end of last year, we launched a new project to promote better on-farm biosecurity in order to reduce cattle-to-badger contact. Finally, we also started a cautious roll-out of the badger cull to an additional area in Dorset last year, which was successful.

I thank the Minister for his reply, but I urge the Government to do all they can to ensure that bovine TB is checked in Cheshire so that it does not take further hold. It is the cause of extreme concern to farmers in my constituency.

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I recognise the specific challenges in parts of the edge area, notably in Cheshire, and we have therefore introduced much more frequent—six-monthly—testing in Cheshire to get on top of the disease, which has been a success. We have also increased the use of the more sensitive interferon gamma blood test as a supplement to the skin test to ensure that we can remove infected cattle from herds more quickly.