Bovine TB

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th December 2005.

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Photo of Anthony Steen Anthony Steen Conservative, Totnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to halt (a) the geographic spread of tuberculosis in cattle and (b) the decline in the number of ground nesting birds in areas affected by tuberculosis.

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

The Government will introduce statutory pre-movement testing of cattle in England from 20 February 2006. This will reduce the risk of spreading TB to areas of the country where the incidence is low. It will also help to reduce the spread of TB between herds in high risk areas.

Evidence is being gathered about the effect of badgers on ground nesting birds. This is being done through a DEFRA-funded project investigating the ecological consequences of badger removal. Some of this work has been conducted in treatment areas of the randomised badger culling trial. The project also involves an exhaustive literature review and experimental field research using artificial bird nests. The results from the project will be presented to DEFRA in March 2007.

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