Bovine TB

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour/Co-operative, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress made towards the introduction of a vaccine for bovine TB.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

holding answer 30 April 2004

The timetable for producing an effective vaccine against bovine tuberculosis remains broadly in line with that set out in the Krebs Report 1997.

In January 2002, the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB set up a Vaccine Scoping Study Sub-Committee (VSSSC) to advise Defra Ministers on whether a TB vaccination strategy for either cattle or wildlife would be feasible. The VSSSC reported to Ministers in July 2003 (published December 2003). This advised on research requirements, but cautioned that a vaccine (for cattle or badgers) remains a long-term policy option. Many obstacles still have to be overcome.

An Inter-Departmental Vaccine Steering Group is working to identify administrative and legal procedures to allow a potential vaccine to be authorised for use. The work of VSSSC will be carried forward by a new Vaccine Programme Advisory Group which is chaired by the Defra TB Vaccine Programme Adviser, Professor Douglas Young.

Defra spent over £1 million on bovine TB vaccine research in the financial years 2002–03 and 2003–04, and expect to spend over £1 million this year.

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