HC Deb 04 April 1989 vol 150 cc54-8W
Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what has been the annual cost of the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme for each of the last seven years;

(2) when he intends to review the progress of the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme; what is his assessment of the success of the scheme to date; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what research his Department is currently funding into the development of a vaccine against bovine tuberculosis in badgers;

(4) when he proposes to authorise field trials for vaccine against bovine tuberculosis in badgers;

(5) how many badgers were removed in 1988, by parish; and how many were subsequently proved to be tuberculoid in those cases where prior approval of the consultative panel was required;

(6) if he will publish a table showing for each parish in 1988 the number of badgers taken by his Department under his badger control strategy and the number subsequently shown by post-mortem examination to be tuberculoid;

(7) what proportion of those badgers killed in the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme have subsequently been proven to be infected with tuberculosis;

(8) how many badgers have been killed in the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme over each of the last seven years;

(9) what information he has on the proportion of badgers infected with tuberculosis that are infective to cattle and other badgers;

(10) what progress his Department is making on the live testing of badgers for tuberculosis; and when he expects the results of field trials to be available;

(11) what is the proportion of cattle slaughtered as suspected cases of bovine tuberculosis which are subsequently discovered not to be suffering from the

Total Cost of the Scheme (£ million) Of which Compensation £ Cattle Badgers
1982 n/a 250,782 614 1,005
1983 n/a 295,469 677 1,239
1984 6.3 284,613 746 1,337
1985 7.6 337,806 863 1,115
1986 7.1 310,399 645 782
1987 6.7 525,447 1,173 711
1988 6.5 368,158 782 774

All animals in which disease is confirmed must be considered as potentially infective to other cattle and badgers. Of the cattle slaughtered in 1988, disease was confirmed by laboratory examination in 36 per cent. Disease was confirmed in 29 per cent. of the badgers taken in the same year. It cannot be assumed, in the case of either cattle or badgers, that the remainder were unaffected.

Details, by parish, of the number of badgers killed in 1988 and the number in which tuberculosis was confirmed are given in the table.

County and parish Number taken Number positive
Type I
Balheaston 4 0
Cold Ashton 23 1
Hawkesbury 25 18
Marshfield 17 8
St. Catherine 2 1
Yate 36 9
Feock 8 5
Lanlivery 17 6
Linkinhorne 31 3
Mabe 9 2
St. Cleer 2 0
St. Ive 1 0
St. Teath 4 2
Sancreed 1 0
South Hill 1 1

disease; and what is the number of cattle slaughtered as suspected cases of bovine tuberculosis in each of the last seven years;

(12) what is the total disbursed in each of the last seven years as compensation to farmers whose cattle have been slaughtered as suspected cases of bovine tuberculosis;

(13) whether he intends commissioning a formal review of the badger control element of his bovine tuberculosis eradication programme;

(14) if he willlist the members of his badger panel and indicate for each member his qualification and expertise;

(15) whether he has made any assessment of the effectiveness of the badger including element of his bovine tuberculosis eradication programme;

(16) what evaluation he has made of the cost-effectiveness of the development and possible applications of live-testing techniques for bovine tuberculosis in badgers;

(17) whether he is currently considering any alternatives to budger culling in his programme to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in badger areas.

Mr. Donald Thompson

The annual cost of the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme (which relates to action taken in respect of tuberculosis in cattle, badgers and latterly deer), including compensation for cattle, and the number of cattle and badgers killed under it during the last seven years are set out in the table.

County and parish Number taken Number positive
Week St. Mary 5 0
Bradworthy 10 2
Chagford 35 11
Hartland 4 1
Holne 24 6
Holsworthy Hamlets 17 3
Lustleigh 13 0
Milton Damorel 22 0
North Bovey 31 7
Sutcombe 1 1
Widecombe in the Moor 9 3
Woolfordisworthy near Bideford 11 2
Beaminster 4 1
Burleston 2 1
Dewlish 4 1
Puddletown 7 2
Stoke Abbott 13 2
Boxwell with Leighterton 7 3
Brockworth 6 4
Edgeworth 56 28
Long Newnton 28 8
Newent 6 0
Owlpen 7 2
Painswick 2 0
Pauntley 13 5
Prestbury 37 28
County and parish Number taken Number positive
Shipton Moyne 28 5
Stroud 4 0
Tetbury Upton 3 2
Uley 24 9
Cheddar 6 0
Rodney Stoke 15 1
Westbury 2 0
Luckington 1 0
3 0
St. Paul Malmesbury Without 1 0
Type II
Newquay 7 0
Menheniot 1 0
St. Martin 13 0
Hollacombe 3 0
Thornbury 5 0
Dartmoor Forest* 8 0
Swainswick* 3 1
Mr. M. T. Thomasin-Foster Chairman (Vice-Chairman of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group)
Mr. R. J. Badcock National Farmers' Union
Lady Bolitho County Landowners' Association
Mr. C. P. Booty Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Mr. R. Ewbank Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
Dr. D. Jefferies Nature Conservancy Council
Professor H. E. M. Kay Royal Society for Nature Conservation
Dr. D. W. MacDonald Fauna and Flora Preservation Society
Dr. A. McDiarmid Expert on Diseases in Wildlife
Mr. R. M. Meyer National Federation of Badger Groups
Dr. E. Neal Eminent Authority on Badgers
Mr. R. Neville TGWU Agricultural and Allied Workers National Trade Group
Dr. J. L. Stanford Microbiologist, Middlesex Hospital
Mr. J. Sterry British Veterinary Association
Mr. E. R. Thomas Dairy Farmer, Carmarthen
Mr. H. V. Thompson Mammal Society

Possible alternative methods of badger control are being investigated. Research work to develop a reliable vaccine has been carried out at the Middlesex hospital. Further work will be necessary before field trials to determine the efficacy of such a vaccine can commence. Work is also under way on the development of a test in the live animal. If such a test can be developed it should enable control operations to be targeted more effectively.

The badger panel is responsible for keeping under review the evidence relating to bovine tuberculosis in badgers. This is an ongoing process designed to supplement the formal reviews undertaken by Lord Zuckerman and Professor Dunnet. In his 1986 report, Professor Dunnet recommended that the badger strategy should be considered either three or five years after its adoption if there was evidence of a significant increase in herd breakdowns. It is intended to follow this recommendation in considering future policy.

The scheme has resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of disease in cattle. Many areas of the country

County and parish Number taken Number positive
Milton Abbas 45 8
Netherbury 2 0
Southrop 1 0
Upton St. Leonards* 10 7
Cheltenham Borough* 5 0
Kingswood* 5 1
Christian Malford 1 0
Castlebythe 6 0
Little Newcastle 15 0
Puncheston 2 0
* Formed part of Type I operations where adjoining land was involved.

Type I operations are those which are approved departmentally and take place within badger problem areas. These are defined as parishes in which there has been at least one cattle breakdown of apparent badger origin within the previous six years. Type II operations take place in areas outside badger problem areas and require the agreement of the badger panel.

The current membership of the panel is as follows:

are now virtually free from the disease, although it is proving more difficult in the south-west because of infection in the local badger population.

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