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08 Jan 2016

MPs Urged To Help Farmers In The Fight Against Bovine TB

MPs and Peers have attended an event organised by the NFU to highlight the impact of bovine TB on farming family businesses and the urgent need to tackle the disease.
The Westminster briefing, which was sponsored by Julian Sturdy MP, marked the launch of a new quarterly newsletter for MPs – The truth about TB – which will document the devastating impact of the disease on farming family businesses and the need to tackle it on all fronts. It also gave MPs and Peers who attended the opportunity to hear the first-hand experiences of farmers and vets who deal with the disease on a daily basis and to find out more about the disease.
Minette Batters, NFU Deputy President, who chaired the briefing, said: “It is vital that the Government’s 25-year TB eradication strategy is driven forward and implemented in full as quickly as possible. To achieve this we need to make sure MPs understand the day-to-day issues bovine TB causes farmers and the need for action to be taken to tackle this disease on all fronts.
“Bovine TB is a complicated and complex disease which has a devastating impact on farmers and their families, the veterinary profession; in fact, whole rural communities. While the disease may not currently be an issue in some MPs’ constituencies, it is vital that they are aware of its impact on farming families and are provided with up-to-date information about it.
“We know that many MPs have already been working hard behind the scenes to help drive through the changes that are needed to achieve what we all want – a TB free England - and continue to work with farmers in their constituencies, and we are grateful to all of them for their support.
“But more still needs to be done. That is why we need MPs to continue to do the following:
• Support Defra’s comprehensive bTB eradication strategy; 
• Support the industry’s call for a bTB Eradication Board for England;
• Support the roll-out of a nationwide business advisory service for farmers struggling to cope with bTB;
• Use the latest scientific evidence to highlight the vital role of badger culling in dealing with the disease in areas where it is endemic;
• Help ensure that Defra’s spending reductions do not compromise animal health. 
“This event gave MPs and Peers the opportunity to hear first-hand about the experiences of farmers across the country who are dealing with bovine TB, as well as vets. It also gave them the opportunity to ask questions to the people most directly involved in the fight to tackle bovine TB,” Ms Batters said.
“Bovine TB remains a huge threat to beef and dairy farmers in large parts of the country and it is vital that we do everything we can to tackle it.”