An anti-badger cull campaigner has launched a service to help farmers up their bio-security and reduce bovine TB.
Dairy farm worker Steve Jones has launched the new service to help rural workers improve cattle welfare and so reduce susceptibility to diseases such as bovine tuberculosis – an alternative to allowing badgers to be killed as part of the Government’s trial culling policy.
But National Farmers’ Union bovine TB spokesman and dairy farmer Jan Rowe, from Whittington, near Cheltenham, said although good husbandry is important, it’s not a guarantee against infected stock.
“Good stockmanship is important, but the very best farms with the best bio-security still go down with bovine TB,” said Mr Rowe, a director of GlosCon, the company set up to organise the trial badger cull in Gloucestershire before it was postponed.
“It’s more about where you farm, not how you farm.”
Mr Jones, from The Pludds in the Forest of Dean, spent his career working in the organic livestock and commercial dairy industry in the UK and abroad.
He has launched www.not-in-this-farmers-name.com, an on-farm consultancy to increase productivity while lowering disease because he believes that killing badgers is a “pointless distraction”.
He said the real cause is poor cattle welfare and lax bio-security, leading to increased vulnerability to disease.
“I have 35 years of hands-on experience of working on farms and I know that diseases like bovine tuberculosis don’t take hold on farms by chance,” said Mr Jones. “Many diseases are invited in, are slow to be tackled and often reach epidemic proportions because of sub-standard management.
“As a herdsman I have maintained an exemplary record of disease resistance, but killing wildlife plays no part in achieving that.
“It angers me greatly to see the Government stubbornly pursue a badger cull when this doesn’t have the farmers’ best interests at heart and won’t deliver the long-term solution they so desperately need.
“As well as causing needless suffering to badgers, slaughtering our wildlife is also causing a rift between farmers and the public. This can’t go on.”