‘Livestock industry at risk if bovine TB is not addressed’

June 10, 2015

Badger

PREDATORY NATURE: The badger is one of the public’s most favourite wild animals but the Country Restoration Trust believes their numbers have contributed to the spread of bovine TB and a huge reduction in the number of hedgehogs and some ground-nesting birds. Picture by Badger Hero.

No Go to Nero

DAIRY DISPUTE: Caffe Nero was told not to source milk from badger culling trial zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset. Some farmers are considering making their own protests to local branches of the coffee chain. I found this image on social media.

meurig raymond

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Meurig Raymond, president of the NFU, who recently visited the Dorset farmer profiled in this report and said his husbandry was of a very high standards. He is adamant that if bovine TB is not tackled head on, the livestock industry in the West Country could be in jeopardy.

 

 

 

A DORSET farmer has spoken out of the impact bovine tuberculosis has impacted his farm despite having excellent standards of welfare, confirmed on a visit from a top industry official.

Due to the harassment of dairy farmers and their families in areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire where pilot trials of badger culling are taking place, I wish not to reveal this person’s identity, even though he lives in Dorset, but he speaks at length in a video to show what is happening.

This comes in the wake of plans by the coffee chain Caffe Nero to boycott these businesses due to threats made by extremist badger cull protesters.

Representatives in the industry have cited New Zealand where it is reputed bovine tuberculosis had reduced by 94 per cent since the 1990s when the industry started a policy of culling possums infected with TB.

The Dorset farmer said: “Last Friday I had my annual TB test, last year’s one and the year previous before was clear. I had 36 positive reactors, it is not just using the animals now but the unborn calves inside them.

“Potentially I’m losing 15 replacements for next year, the year after as well, so you know it just goes on. There is only one source as far as I’m concerned as it’s the badger. I’ve got setts 50 metres that way, 100 metres that way and across the entire bank behind the cows – 100 metres there, entire badger setts.”

A colleague of his added: “We’ve got cameras set up everywhere to see where they are badgers coming in and we’ve done everything we can to stop them.

“Here is one of the holes and a strong run coming through to the hole each way, also up the bank and obviously there is one route they are going – straight towards the farm.”

National Farmers Union president Meurig Raymond paid a visit to this NFU member and praised all his efforts in all the prevention measures he had taken to prevent his herd being infected.

“I haven’t seen as good as stockmanship on this farm as I’ve seen on this farm today and 36 prime cattle having to be destroyed next week by bovine TB. I just cannot think what is going through their minds at the moment.

“To be told last Thursday there would be no roll out on the present strategy of badger culling was devastating in itself and then you lose 36 cattle on Friday but we as the NFU we have to look at all possible options.

“If we do not and we have more farms like this I’m terrified for the long-term well-being of the livestock industry, particularly in the western side of the country.”

Speaking on the decision made by Caffe Nero to boycott milk from the areas mentioned above, NFU deputy president Minette Waters said in a press release they were extremely disappointed they had caved into threats.

“The people who have made the threat of action against Caffe Nero are a small minority and it is extremely disappointing that the company appears to have bowed into pressure from those who think nothing of intimidation and threats of disruption to achieve their ends.

“The pilot badger culls are a government policy, based on scientific evidence, aimed at controlling this disease which is a huge threat to dairy and beef farmers in the South West and other parts of the country.”

 

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