Bill Harper of the National Beef Association gives a guarded welcome to the BEVS Scheme
3rd September 2014
TB EDGE VACINATION SCHEME ANNOUNCED
Bill Harper of the National Beef Association gives a guarded welcome to the Scheme
Bill Harper of the NBA TB Committee has given a guarded welcome to the recently announced Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (BEVS).
The scheme which was announced by Gavin Ross, Head of TB Programme for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is designed to aid in the control of endemic TB in the badger population by introducing vaccination at the edge of areas where the disease is endemic.
Mr Harper has two concerns which the scheme needs to address. The first concerns the definition of Badger Endemic Areas. He believes the edge areas should be redefined due to the spread of infection. He adds “For example, Cheshire is no longer an edge area as it has an infection rate that could now be considered as endemic, the edge area should be moved up to Lancashire.”
In the Midlands he states, “The edge area should be pushed further out otherwise we risk wasting time and resources vaccinating badgers that are already infected with bTB”.
He adds: “Secondly, badger groups will have to show far more understanding of the situation as a whole if they are to gain the farmer’s trust and permission to access the land required to carry out a vaccination program.”
TB remains a dangerous disease which is present on human, cattle and badger populations. The decline of the disease in people is due largely to better diet, housing and the pasteurisation of milk. BCG vaccination has made some contribution, but is not the magic cure-all that most people believe. Transmission of the disease to cattle is most likely from infected badger populations, hence the need to cull infected badgers. The need to cull cattle which are infected is to prevent the infection passing to people, not onwards to other cattle. These controversial policies attract criticism which ignores the prime concern – to protect us from the disease by breaking the chain of transmission.
The Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme offers a package of support which includes a funding award of up to 50 per cent of long-term costs for vaccinating, advice from field experts, free loans of equipment such as traps, and free vaccine supply. More details, including how to apply, the eligibility criteria and information for applicants, are now available on https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing-bovine-tuberculosis/supporting-pages/badger-vaccination.
Applications to BEVS are open from now until 27th February 2015.
For more advice on the NBA’s advice you should contact Bill Harper on 07831 099182 or by email at [email protected]
Media Enquiries – Barbara Huddart – 01668283044 – [email protected]
Chris Mallon Chief Executive – 01434 601 005 – [email protected]