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Vaccination against bluetongue in England and Wales is voluntary, an approach agreed with the livestock industry. Vaccine was first made available on 30 April 2008, and the protection zone was extended step by step as further vaccine consignments were delivered.
The livestock population eligible for vaccination against BTV-8 in England is 26,419,472. Initial vaccine uptake was highreaching between 80 per cent. and 90 per cent. in the south-east and east of Englandbut uptake in the counties of northern England and in Wales has been lower.
To date the overall uptake of vaccine across the whole of England is about 60 per cent., based on purchasing data. Because the approach to vaccination is voluntary, no exact figures can be provided about the numbers of livestock actually vaccinated.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with industry representatives on the constitution of the Bovine TB Partnership Group; and when he plans that the group should be operational. 
Jane Kennedy: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made clear that he is keen for Government to work in partnership with industry to develop a joint plan for tackling bovine tuberculosis. This offer to work in partnership remains open.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of animals which have been infected with M. bovis in each year since 1997, broken down by species; and if he will make a statement. 
|Number of cattle slaughtered under bovine TB control measures|
All data provided are provisional and subject to change as more data become available.
Animal Health Database (Vetnet). 2005-07 data extracted on 18 March 2008; 1998-2004 data extracted on 7 March 2006, and 1997 data extracted on 5 March 2007.
In addition there have been a small number of cases of where Mycobacterium bovis ( M. bovis) has been identified in non-bovine species. The identification of M. bovis in tissues and clinical samples from all mammals (excepting man) and the detection of suspect TB lesions in farmed and companion mammals (other than cattle and farmed deer), became notifiable only in February 2006.
DEFRA can only provide data on the number of M. bovis isolations from notified suspect clinical and post-mortem cases of TB arising in some non-bovine species. The relevant data for non-bovine species in England are given in the following table:
Veterinary Laboratories Agency TB Culture database
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of options to alter the tabular system for home tuberculosis compensation payments, with particular reference to separating out compensation for premium and organic animals. 
Jane Kennedy: A range of proposals for altering the table valuation system were presented to DEFRA by members of the Cattle Compensation Advisory Group (a stakeholder group set up in spring 2006 to monitor the roll-out of the table valuation system). We identified problems with these proposalswhich focused on premium and organic cattleand so did not take them forward.
The issue of whether a different approach is required when compensating for high value cattle is at the heart of an ongoing legal challenge against DEFRA's table valuation based compensation system. DEFRA have lodged an appeal against the court's finding that it is unlawful to use table valuations for high value stock. Any changes to the table valuation system will need to take into account the judgment of the Appeals Court, which is due to hear this case in March next year.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of pre-movement testing on the level of bovine tuberculosis in national livestock herds. 
Jane Kennedy: We are continuously monitoring the impacts of pre-movement testing and key statistics are published on the DEFRA website each month. Evidence to date is encouraging and shows that new TB incidents are being prevented by pre-movement tests as well as Government-funded routine surveillance tests. The policy is also picking up infection earlier in high risk herds. Latest published data show that pre-movement testing led to the detection of 834 reactors in 458 herds in England between March 2006 and the end of July 2008.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to the impact introducing a bovine tuberculosis vaccine for cattle will have on Britains tuberculosis free status; and what discussions he has had with the European Commission on this issue. 
Cattle vaccines are based on BCG and this interferes with the tuberculin skin test. Vaccinated animals would therefore appear to be infected and herds could not be declared Officially TB Free. Therefore, as part of the UK research programme we are developing what is
known as a differential diagnostic test to allow vaccinated animals to be differentiated from infected animals (DIVA). Changes will be required to the EU legislation to allow this test to be used in place of, or alongside the tuberculin skin test to confer Officially TB Free status.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle are recorded on the cattle tracing system register; how many of those born after 1996 have been reported (a) lost and (b) not traced; and how many have an unreported final destination. 
Farmers must keep accurate records and tell DEFRA of all cattle movements. If animals are lost or stolen, the keeper must report this to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) who record details on the CTS. Of those cattle born after 1996, 65,722 (0.17 per cent. of the total) have been reported to CTS as lost or not traced, either by the keeper, or following a farm inspection, for reasons including alleged theft.
21,276 cattle born after 1996 have not yet had their final destination reported to CTS. In these cases, the animals movement off their last location has been reported but the new keeper has yet to notify CTS.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likelihood of herd health plans being in place for 95 per cent. of dairy farms by 2010. 
Jane Kennedy: We have made no assessment against this target, which is set out in the Milk Roadmap. The Roadmap was published in May 2008 by the Dairy Supply Chain Forums Sustainable Consumption and Production Taskforce. Monitoring and reviewing the Roadmap is the responsibility of that Taskforce. The Taskforce is currently considering how best to monitor and report on progress against the Roadmap targets and to this end had an initial discussion at its first plenary session since the Roadmap was published on 10 October.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Christmas functions (a) he, (b) officials from his Department and (c) officials from its executive agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2007-08; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. 
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