Yorkshire cattle farmers are being urged to attend a meeting about bovine tuberculosis in York next week as part of a sustained push to halt the spread of the disease.
Bovine TB (bTB) is the most serious infectious disease affecting farms in England and its spread stopped more than 6,700 herds from trading last year because of strict movement restrictions.
The average cost of a TB breakdown on a farm is £30,000 and there can be knock-on effects for nearby herds within a 3km radius who also have to be tested for the disease if a lesion is found on an effected animal.
To better inform farmers in Yorkshire – in the country’s ‘‘low risk’’ bTB area – cattle vet Sarah Tomlinson, a member of the TB Eradication and Advisory Group for England, and her veterinary practice, Westpoint Farm Vets in Derbyshire, are holding a meeting for the farming community at Beetle Bank Farm in Murton, York next Tuesday at 7pm.
The event is supported by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), whose regional livestock advisor, Poppy Arnett, said: “The risk presented by Bovine TB to livestock businesses in the North East is something the regional NFU team is working hard to highlight.
“As a low risk area, with few outbreaks at present and a healthy wildlife population, very few of our regional farmers have first-hand experience of this terrible disease. But there is a significant risk of unwittingly bringing it into the region from elsewhere in the country where the disease is far more prevalent.”
The ‘‘high risk’’ area of the country, in south-western counties where badger culling is part of the Government’s strategy to eradicate the disease, is seeing a small decline in new TB breakdowns. However, there has been a rise in outbreaks in the ‘‘edge area’’, while the low risk area saw a rise in herds under movement restrictions last year, to 188.
Ms Arnett added: “We have worked closely with Sarah Tomlinson for some time to raise awareness of the disease, its potential impact and the positive steps farmers can take to counter the threat it poses, but there is still more to do. I would certainly hope to see a good turnout at the event next week, that provides a great opportunity to find out more from one of the country’s leading experts.”
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