Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Paul Holliday


  1.  My evidence is as a director of Independent Feed Supplements Ltd. I have 35 years of field experience in the sale and precision feeding of mineral vitamin and trace element supplements to all classes of farm livestock.

  2.  In the period prior to the UK becoming a full member of the EU, animal husbandry did not have the benefit of sophisticated laboratory testing of feeds for micro nutrients. We did know however, that for example, that the widespread provision of milk brought health benefits to humans . Supplementary Iodine was fed to post war dairy cows to keep them healthy and fertile. This in turn, scientific analysts think, helped to bring about a substantial reduction in the incidence of Iodine deficiency in milk-drinking post war teenage girls.

  3.  Animal husbandry has developed in leaps and bounds since that time. Once common nutritional deficiencies in farm animals are very rarely seen. In fact EU legislators are gradually reducing maximum permitted levels of trace elements supplied in feed to farm animals because of a potential over supply. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to suggest that trace element deficiency is a factor in reducing resistance to TB infection. Certainly malnutrition of any kind in farm animals, in this country, is the exception now.

  4.  There is one place in the UK that has provided a good natural experimental control on the incidence of TB and its relationship to the natural farm animal environmental background. On the Isle of Man, there are no badgers and foxes, and therefore no wildlife reserves of TB. Animal nutrition, animal husbandry, and animal bio-security are very much on a parallel with the West Midlands. On the Isle of Man, it is a matter of record, that the two most productive dairy herds in the whole of the UK, operate completely unimpeded by any bovine TB infection. This has been the case for 35 years.

  5.  Some years ago however, during the foot and mouth restrictions, one case of accidental cattle to cattle transmission from the mainland did occur. This infection, detected by resumed testing, was however eradicated quickly by the Isle of Man government in one year. The infected herd of dairy cattle was slaughtered, and one deer that was found to be infected was slaughtered too. I believe that the Isle of Man government, on a sustained basis, have provided a micro example, of how it is possible in their unique farm animal environment, to eradicate TB infection effectively in both cattle and wildlife.

Paul Holliday

Director of Independent Feed Supplements Ltd

April 2004

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