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Survey of badgers after TB cases

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Wednesday, 31 December, 2003

Experts are to survey badgers in south west Cumbria after an unexplained rise in bovine tuberculosis.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says the study in the Furness peninsula will also monitor deer culled and those found dead with suspect TB lesions in the area.

The survey will focus on badgers and deer killed on the roads in a 180 square kilometre area.

It aims to find out whether any of the animals are infected with bovine TB.

DEFRA said Cumbria has been relatively free from the disease for many years but there has been an increasing incidence of outbreaks in cattle in recent months.

Some of these are reportedly linked to the purchase of infected cattle from other parts of the country.

But it says there have been seven confirmed TB incidents in the Furness peninsula in the last 18 months in which purchased livestock do not appear to have been involved.

All cattle in the area are currently being tested for the disease.

Results will be used to decide the future cattle testing policy for the area.

Anyone who finds a dead badger on the roads is asked to contact the local animal health officer, in Carlisle.

Carcasses will be collected and taken to a laboratory in Penrith to be examined.

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