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Bovine TB payments may hit 80m

21 July 2009 - BBC News

...Chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop hopes powers to cull badgers as part of a plan to eradicate bovine TB in cattle could be in place by the autumn. In April 2008 Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones announced a "targeted cull" of badgers. Dr Glossop said: "We're out to consultation at the moment about the powers needed to solve this problem and we're hoping the legislation will be in place by the autumn." ...

A Welsh Assembly Government spokeswoman added the legislation would be laid before the assembly later this year, and officials hoped there would be new powers by October. She said the financial cost of the disease was rising sharply as an increasing number of animals with TB were slaughtered. If the disease continues to rise at its present rate of 28% per year then by 2013-14 compensation payments will be 80m, officials claimed. ...

But Steve Clark of the Badger Trust in Wales claimed the present rate of infection was a direct result of the unrestricted movement of infected cattle after the foot-and mouth epidemic. "The current programme of testing all herds across Wales has disclosed 77 additional breakdown herds that would not have been identified otherwise for some years," he added. "The failure to apply stringent testing regimes over several decades has now manifested itself in the high levels of TB farmers are currently experiencing." ...

In response the assembly government said its TB eradication programme was comprehensive and was aimed at tackling all sources of the disease in cattle. It added that testing would become tighter. ...

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