Frequent trading of cattle and poor biosecurity on farms is “severely hampering” efforts to tackle the crisis of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in England, according to an independent reviewcommissioned by the environment secretary, Michael Gove.
It was wrong to blame badgers as the main cause of the outbreaks, the scientists said, although Gove had told them not to assess whether the current badger culls were working. The scientists did say it was “highly desirable” to move from culling to vaccination of badgers.
TB in cattle costs taxpayers £100m in compensation every year, with 33,000 infected animals slaughtered in 2017. Gove approved a huge expansion of badger culling in September, with up to 42,000 to be shot this year.