Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by F Fraser (BTB 32)

  1.  Bovine TB is exactly that—a problem of TB in cattle and needs to be solved in cattle.

  The TB test is notoriously inaccurate; there have been many incidents of cattle testing positive and have proved to be free of TB after slaughter and also some cattle proving to have TB when slaughtered having passed the test as clear. Apart from the unnecessary waste and expense, the numbers of cattle actually having "TB" are therefore not the same as those culled as a result of positive test results. There needs to be a new accurate test developed for detection of TB in cattle.

  2.  During the last 30 years the continued denegration and associated "legal" and illegal killing of badgers with considerable cruelty involved . . . (badgers a protected species!), has made no impact on the TB in the South West. The badger population is dispersed when interfered with. Badgers have been made a scapegoat with an enormous amount of resources wasted which would have been better used to develop a vaccine for eradicating TB in cattle.

  3.  Recent suggestions to use snares and possibly encourage farmers to gas badgers themselves are unacceptable. There is no universally recognised method of humanely killing badgers in large numbers—even if the idea were acceptable; which to my mind, and to that of many others, it is not. The manifold dangers of snareing, to all wild life and domestic animals are intolerable, as history has taught us.

  4.  Other species, eg deer and cats carry bovine TB . . . will the next step be to eradicate these in specific areas? It would be logical but unacceptable.

  5.  The answer to Bovine TB must be found in cattle; had the funds wasted on the pursuit of badgers been spent on a vaccine for cattle, its development would have been at least 20 years further on. It must be developed now and wildlife left alone. There is no evidence of a badger population rife with bovine TB.

  6.  It is accepted that TB thrives where there are increased stress levels— intensive farming methods have placed cattle in situations of increased stress which has contributed to the problem.


  1.  The present test for TB is inaccurate. New test should be developed for TB in cattle.

  2.  Badger denegration through the last 30 years has increased the problem without solution.

  3.  Suggestions to cull badgers on a large scale are totally unacceptable and useless, and causes migration in badger community.

  4.  Other species carry Bovine TB.

  5.  Solution should be looked for and found in cattle: vaccine must be developed—in cattle.

  6.  Other causes for increase incidence of TB in cattle.

February 2006

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