Diseased cattle are slaughtered
31 March 2004 - BBC News
50 cows in north Devon have been slaughtered after contracting the
bovine tuberculosis disease.Tony Yewdall, 69, who runs West Webbery Farm, near Bideford,
Devon, said the loss was "devastating". He wants tougher government action to tackle the disease,
particularly in seeing if badgers spread it.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
said it was policy not to kill or take badgers away during a current
The 48 sick
Guernsey cows, which are about a quarter of his pedigree milking
herd, were collected from Mr Yewdall's family-run farm early on
Mr Yewdall said two adjoining farms also had cattle infected with
the disease and warned of a possible "epidemic". Mr Yewdall, who has owned the farm for 20 years, was told in
February that the cows would have to be slaughtered. He has around 350 animals in total, of which 200 are milking
cows. As they are pedigrees, they will be difficult to replace, he
He said: "They are just about to calve so it is the worst
possible time this could happen to us."
He said the government should consider issuing special licences
to farmers in badly-hit areas to cull badgers, which many believe
spread bovine TB.
He said: "We feel this is a dire situation where our livelihood
is at stake. I have got a son and a grandson here.
It could build up worse than foot-and-mouth. It is a terrible
thing, and they are not doing anything about it."
The farmer stressed that there is no risk to the public from
bovine TB because all milk sold for human consumption was
A spokesman for Defra said it was policy not to issue licences to
kill or take badgers to prevent the spread of bovine TB while the
government's randomised badger culling trial is under way.
He added: "We have considered Mr Yewdall's particular
circumstances carefully, but no reason can be identified for
treating this breakdown differently from any other. There are measures that farmers can take to reduce the risk of
disease transmission from badgers by improving herd biosecurity. Advice on these measures is available from Defra and an offer of
a visit by a wildlife adviser was given to Mr Yewdall."
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