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Bovine TB badger vaccination 'is working' as Welsh slaughter falls by a third

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

Bovine TB badger vaccination 'is working' as Welsh slaughter falls by a third

Badger vaccination trials in Dorset are under way, with volunteers trained through donations from the public

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A programme of vaccination to eradicate bovine TB in Wales appears to be working, the country’s farming minister has suggested, after the number of slaughtered cattle fell by a third.

Speaking as figures showed new herd incidents in the country – which has shunned the badger cull policy trialled in England – have fallen by a quarter, Alun Davies said Wales had reached its first goal of halting the spread of the disease.

Statistics from the Welsh Government show that, in the 12 months to the end of November 2013, there were 880 new herd incidents in Wales, down 23 per cent from 1,145 in the previous 12 months. The drop follows an increase of 15 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

For the most recent period, 6,275 cattle were slaughtered because of TB, down from 9,364. This is a fall of 33 per cent, following a rise of 18 per cent in 2011-2012.

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Wales is nearing the end of its second year of vaccinating badgers, with 1,424 animals vaccinated in the first year of its trial in west Wales. A five-year trial is being carried out in England by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

However, Mr Davies cautioned: “We know there is no quick fix to eradicating the disease from Wales. It will take many years and requires the whole industry to work together. I am delighted that overall the figures have come down however we cannot be certain that this is a long term trend and there may still be more fluctuation in the figures.”

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10 comments

  • ssimples  |  February 27 2014, 7:48PM

    Here is the AHVLA report on the impact of added cattle measures in the IAA of Wales! Look at the graphs and make your own judgement. http://tinyurl.com/nhmtwsl

    |   -3
  • ssimples  |  February 27 2014, 8:50AM

    Also what will happen when the 5 year badger vaccination programmes come to an end? So far I have not heard any talk about extending these programmes. Have you? If the combined results which are coming in from the IAA and BVDP are promising then I would expect some movement on this. This year's exercise in Gloucs is the final year. All other projects which are being carried out by Trusts are tiny compared to the BVDP and the IAA and I do not think these projects are being monitored by AHVLA. Indeed such projects are far too small to give meaningful results in terms of reductions in cattle herd breakdowns.

    |   -8
  • ssimples  |  February 27 2014, 8:35AM

    There has been much interest in the release of the report into the findings of the badger culling exercises and yet there has been no questions raised as to why results of 4 years of vaccinating badgers across 100km2 in Gloucs and 2 years of vaccinating badgers across 288km2 in the Welsh IAA have not been released. A report on the IAA vaccination is apparently going to be released before the Easter Recess but this will only cover the first year when the second year round of vaccinations were completed last Autumn. Is the expectation that the impact of the badger vaccination exercises will be disappointing so the vocal anti-cull campaigners are relaxed about the fact that results are being withheld?

    |   -9
  • groundnut  |  February 26 2014, 10:13PM

    You need of course to ascertain the dates and quality of any recent AHVLA data, before using it for any purpose . Bearing in mind their Computer " glitch" I think they called it. But if you put garbage into the Computer you undoubtedly get Garbage out. The revised AHVLA figures showed significant differences, And to think it took them since the input errors commenced in 2011, to find out. How much of a coincidence is that ?

    |   6
  • mmjames  |  February 26 2014, 7:56PM

    Complete and utter clueless bullocks carp! Ever heard the term "zero tolerance"? Do you really think farmers trust the government, ARA's or BCG to protect their cattle, llamas, goats etc....?

    |   -15
  • ssimples  |  February 26 2014, 7:41PM

    @Clue-Up A classic case of head in the sand! Although 2 years does not count for very much across an area of only 288 square kilometres, anyone looking to bolster their agenda by putting across convincing claims that cattle controls need to be strengthened will not want to draw attention to the AHVLA report. This report is referenced in the link in my last comment. The next report will cover 3 years of added controls. On top of this will be the first year of badger vaccination. It is due out in April. This will be a little more interesting.

    |   -11
  • Clued-Up  |  February 26 2014, 6:44PM

    You're quoting from THAT web site again, the one that flouts normal worldwide web standards and seems to consistently misquote every research study and set of stats it comes across. I'm not going to waste my time looking at stuff on what's a suspect web site. If you can point to the same material appearing on a reputable web site then I'll check it out and reply.

    |   12
  • ssimples  |  February 26 2014, 4:07PM

    @Clued-Up I'm pleased that you have recognised how cattle movement and testing controls have been more tightly enforced in Wales and that bio-security is better than on farms in England. The following link shows graphs which illustrate the impact of these measures using all data which has been published to-date. i.e. the first 2 years. The link also references the AHVLA report which shows the tables from which the data has been extracted. For some unknown reason the AHVLA report hides the portion of graphs which show the last 2 years. Alun Davies has said that more data will be released in early April. Alun Davies is the Minister for Natural Resources and Food for Wales. http://tinyurl.com/nqqoeut As you can see these measures appear to have so far made no difference whatsoever to TB in the area in which they have been applied. It will be interesting to see the results in April because this will not only add a third year of added cattle controls but will also include the first year of badger vaccination. Wales completed their second year of vaccinating badgers last Autumn. If Wales decide not to add further delays to publishing such data that data should become available this time next year.

    |   -9
  • Clued-Up  |  February 26 2014, 3:11PM

    The Welsh cattle bTB eradication programme includes far more comprehensive, more tightly enforced cattle movement and testing controls and better biosecurity on farms than is the case in England, in addition to badger vaccination. I'm delighted by the Welsh successes but suspect most of it is down to their far superior cattle controls. Even with recent improvements to English cattle controls, they're weaker than the Welsh system is; and there's also less individualised support for English farmers wanting professional advice and support to make on-farm changes that reduce bTB transmission.

    |   13
  • groundnut  |  February 26 2014, 1:28PM

    This may be a regenerated article by the WDP from earlier this year but the message is still very relevant. As we await an update on their 2013 programme from the Welsh Government. The link attached gives a recent view of Wildlife Trusts and their progress towards Badger vaccination. http://tinyurl.com/o4lm98k

    |   11

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