The Welsh Government are working to eliminate bovine TB from an area of west Wales by targeting every possible source of infection. The area has the highest bTB herd breakdown in the country and is important for beef and dairy production. Their comprehensive approach, with strict attention to every detail, provides a comprehensive solution that is already showing improvements in bTB throughout the country.In an area of west Wales, they have put extra measures in place with the aim of eradicating the disease in the local cattle population. This area is called the Intensive Action Area (IAA). They established the IAA to tackle all sources of bovine TB infection in domestic and wild animal species. This is a similar approach to that used in New Zealand, where they have successfully eradicated the disease from large areas of the country.
The IAA is primarily located in north Pembrokeshire but includes small parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Beef and dairy farming is an important industry in the area. The IAA has one of the highest incidence rates of bovine TB in Wales. It is an area which accounts for a significant proportion of the national TB compensation costs.
Cattle farms in the IAA tend to be under movement restrictions for a longer period of time compared to other parts of Wales. The proportion of cattle that react to the TB test is also higher. Our ongoing badger survey has confirmed the presence of bovine TB in the badgers.
They have introduced a range of measures to reduce the level of infection within all species in the area. These are:
- stricter cattle controls
- improved biosecurity measures
- testing all goats and camelids
- vaccinating badgers.
Increased cattle surveillance and controls came into place on 1 May 2010. All cattle owners in the area are also involved in a project to improve biosecurity on their farms to reduce the risk of TB getting into their herds. The vaccination project began in May 2012 and will continue for five years.
There isn’t a badger cull in Wales. Instead, they have implemented a vaccination programme.
Between December 2012 and November 2013, there were 880 new herd incidents compared to 1,145 new herd incidents in the previous year. This represents a 23 percent reduction.
In the same period, the number of cattle slaughtered for bovine TB control also reduced from 9,364 to 6,275 which is a reduction of 33 percent.
This compares very favourably with the English government's figures for the same period which show a 6% reduction in new herd incidents and a 14% reduction in the numbers of cattle slaughtered for TB control.
Further proof that killing badgers isn’t the answer to eradicating bTB from wildlife or cattle.
The amazing Christanne Clossops talks about Badger vaccination: