May 22, 2013
Contrary to the headline in the online edition of The Times – “EU could reinstate British cattle export ban” (22 May 2013) – how the UK combats bovine TB in badgers is a matter for the UK.
Different member states have different approaches as husbandry practice, including cattle movement patterns, differ substantially from region to region.
What is important is that this disease is effectively tackled, for obvious human health, animal health and welfare and economic reasons.
This is an EU-wide matter as this is a health issue and cattle, dairy products and beef are traded across borders.
There is currently no effective vaccine for cattle and therefore any vaccination for TB is illegal.
So it is true that the EC would like to see the UK and other member states with above average figures for bovine TB reduce the incidence of disease.
But there are no plans to impose specific restrictions on the movement of UK cattle and products, as current sanitary restrictions for infected herds are deemed enough. Further measures like a ban would be a last resort and are a long way off.
Tags:animal health, animal welfare, badger cull, bovine TB, cattle export ban, sanitary restrictions, vaccination