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Badgers and Bovine TB

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Badgers and Bovine TB Powered By Docstoc
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TAKEN BEFORE THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS: BADGERS AND BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS SUB-COMMITTEE MONDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2003

Members present: Mr David Drew, in the Chair Ms Candy Atherton Mr Colin Breed Mr Michael Jack Mr Austin Mitchell Diana Organ Mr Bill Wiggin

Memorandum submitted by the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales (P30) Executive Summary 1. The NFU welcomes the decision by the House of Commons EFRA Committee to undertake an Inquiry into badgers and bovine tuberculosis. 2. Government’s autumn package of measures for the control of TB was well received by producers. It is felt, however, that further action is still needed to alleviate the pressure on producers when their herds have movement restrictions imposed. 3. The NFU urge that Government ensure suYcient resources are available to clear the backlog of TB tests as quickly as possible. 4. The NFU welcomes the gamma interferon trials announced as part of the Governments autumn package for the control of TB. We are concerned, however, at the length of time before this test can be more widely used. 5. The Road TraYc Accident Survey could provide valuable information to improve understanding of the epidemiology of the disease and, therefore, needs to be properly resourced. 6. The NFU fully supports the provision of test data prior to sale of cattle and has always encouraged farmers to have groups of animals tested prior to or immediately after movement. 7. TB99 is a survey that aims to investigate all possible sources of infection after a TB herd breakdown. The NFU is concerned that this is very time consuming and in many cases is not being carried out at all. 8. The NFU believes that the current control policy is failing to prevent the spread of disease. The NFU continues to support the Krebs trials, but believe it is essential that an interim strategy to contain the spread of TB be implemented before the results of the Krebs trials are known. 9. The overarching aim of the NFU is for the eradication of TB in both the cattle and wildlife population, and therefore the development of a vaccine is seen as key. Introduction 10. The NFU welcomes the decision by the House of Commons EFRA Committee to undertake an Inquiry into badgers and bovine tuberculosis. With outbreaks of TB increasing at an alarming rate it is of vital importance that further action is urgently taken by Government to address the situation. Movement Restrictions 11. The NFU lobbied for changes to the movement restrictions imposed on a holding upon an outbreak of TB. This was to alleviate the hardship of producers under restriction without compromising disease control. The NFU welcomes the measures introduced. 12. The NFU also welcomed the introduction of a policy for allowing the movement of animals onto a farm aVected by TB restrictions. It is too early, however, for us to judge the impact of the changes to movement restrictions on the spread of disease, and on farmers and farming. However, the NFU also believe that where significant numbers of cattle are lost to TB, DVM discretion is essential when considering restocking movements in order to protect the viability of the farming business. 13. The NFU accepts the need for disease precautions when considering movements of cattle, but we believe that further concessions should be granted for calves moving between holdings. The NFU would like to see a separate policy introduced for calves to allow them to be sold on a regular basis from farms under TB movement restriction.

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Overdue TB Testing and Resources 14. DEFRA’s autumn package also contained the provision that herds with tests overdue by more than 12 months would be put under movement restriction with eVect from 1 February 2003. From 1 April 2003, herds with tests overdue by more than six months will be placed under movement restriction. This is only acceptable if adequate resources are available to ensure all the overdue tests in question could be carried out by the dates above. 15. DEFRA announced that £3 million would be set aside from the Governments spending review to reduce the number of herds awaiting tests. As at 30 November DEFRA statistics stated that the total number of overdue TB tests stood at 9,852. It is, therefore, essential that suYcient resources be allocated to clear this backlog as quickly as possible. Improved Diagnostic Tests 16. The NFU has consistently requested improved diagnostic tests for TB. The NFU has welcomed the establishment of trials for the use of the gamma interferon test alongside the current skin test (announced as part of the Governments autumn package), and understand that trials have began in some of the specified Counties. Whilst we recognise that it is essential the test is fully evaluated before it is used further, and that foot and mouth disease caused delays to the feasibility study which started in October 2000, we are concerned that another two years will pass before the test can be more widely used and potentially reduce the time a producer is under restriction. 17. The NFU would stress that it is essential there are no delays in conducting the trial. Road Traffic Accident Survey 18. The Agriculture Committee recommended that Government make it a priority to provide suYcient resources to enable the road traYc accident survey to be carried out according to the direction of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG). 19. Although the NFU accepts resources being diverted from this operation to deal with Classical Swine Fever and foot and mouth disease, it is essential that suYcient resources are in place to complete this valuable study. There needs to be a far greater understanding of the extent of TB infection in the wildlife population. The RTA survey could provide considerably more information if properly resourced and carried out more extensively, rather than only in the seven counties recommended by the ISG. 20. The NFU believe an updated survey of the overall badger population is urgently needed to improve understanding of the epidemiology of the disease. Husbandry and Biosecurity 21. The NFU fully endorse the Agriculture Committee’s recommendation of production of test data prior to sale and has always encouraged farmers to have groups of animals tested prior to or immediately after movement. We consider this practice would be more widely adopted if DEFRA paid for the testing. 22. It is important that any husbandry advice is scientifically proven to work and that it is both cost eVective and easy to implement. The NFU has concerns that the possibility of DEFRA categorising farms as to their TB risk status, as so little is known about transmission routes, particularly between wildlife and cattle. 23. TB 99 was supposed to give some pointers in this area but has been badly under resourced. TB 99 Survey 24. The Agriculture Committee recommended in relation to TB99 “that MAFF make an absolute commitment to its implementation as a priority”. This is a comprehensive questionnaire carried out after a TB herd breakdown to investigate all possible sources of infection. The exercise aids epidemiological investigation and therefore needs to be properly resourced to ensure maximum benefits from the results. The questionnaire is currently very time consuming for farmers and their vets to complete and in many cases is not being carried out at all. The NFU believe that a shorter, improved version should be considered by DEFRA to ensure that this exercise is carried out as soon as possible after an outbreak. The Krebs Trials 25. The Agriculture Committee recommendation states, “We believe that Ministers have to recognise that this might mean deciding to extend the trial beyond the end date or beyond its current scope.” Government shared the Committee’s concerns that given the continued increase in TB in cattle, there should be no delay in moving to implement new policies when appropriate.

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26. The NFU believe that the current control policy is failing to prevent the spread of disease, and indeed is allowing it to gain a firm foothold in areas of previously sporadic incidence. The NFU continues to support the recommendations of the Krebs report, including the trials, as important in gathering information and improving knowledge of the epidemiology and transmission of bovine TB. However, there are concerns at delay in the results and the possible impact on their credibility. It is essential that there are no more delays and that adequate resources are in place to ensure that the results are scientifically valid. 27. The Government’s response to the Agriculture Committee report states, “The Government is minded to develop a range of policy options. If appropriate these might be tested out possibly on a pilot basis in areas outside the present trials, in order to gain experience that would help Ministers reach an eventual decision on a national TB policy”. The NFU believe the Government has failed to implement this. 28. A large escalation of TB incidents, with existing “hot spots” becoming bigger and new ones starting has been seen since the publication of the Krebs report in 1997. This follows the combination of the delay in starting and then running of the Krebs trials plus the abandonment of any wildlife control measures. Given no further interruption the earliest the trials will be completed will be 2007. The ISG has hinted at possible interim advice to ministers in early 2005, however the NFU believes this is too long to wait and calls for an interim strategy to contain the spread of TB. Reactive trapping, as in the Krebs trials, should be immediately started in known TB hotspots allowing a suitable cordon near trial areas. In new areas where several farms have been put under movement restriction without obvious imported infection a wildlife survey should be carried out and trapping undertaken if TB is found in the wildlife. 29. The NFU accepts that cattle movements can spread disease (evidence of this has been shown by post FMD restocking), but insists that all possible routes of transmission have to be tackled, including wildlife. 30. The “reactive trapping” areas of the Krebs trial seem to have suVered a disproportionate delay and this needs rectifying urgently if scientific credibility is to be maintained. Vaccination 31. The overarching aim of the NFU is for eradication of TB in both the cattle and wildlife population, and therefore the development of a vaccine is seen as key. 32. The NFU believe it is essential that increased emphasis be placed on research into vaccines for both cattle and wildlife. A systematic review of worldwide research should be implemented and there should be consideration of international co-operation in both the private and public sectors in order to speed up the development of vaccines and avoid duplication of research. Simultaneously research is required into improved diagnostic tests compatible with a vaccination strategy. 33. Given that production of a vaccine does not appear to be imminent, this further emphasises the need for interim action to control the spread of the disease. Conclusion 34. The NFU welcome the measures that DEFRA has implemented from its autumn package. However, the disease is spreading at a considerable rate and, alarmingly, into new areas. The NFU’s concern therefore centres around the fact that current Government policy on the control of TB is clearly proving inadequate. 35. The Government’s response to the Agriculture Committee recognised that it may not be appropriate to wait until perfect scientific evidence is available before taking additional measures. The NFU accepts that “perfect science” may not be achievable in this context. We insist therefore, that further action is justified on grounds of inexorably increasing disease and its crippling eVect on hundreds of livestock farmers. 3 February 2003 Examination of Witnesses Mr Tim Bennett, Deputy President, Mr Dai Davies, Vice President, NFU Cymru, Mr Jan Rowe, Vice Chairman, Animal Health and Welfare Committee, and Ms Jenny Searle, TB Adviser, National Farmers’ Union, examined. Chairman 1. Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to what is for some of us well-trodden territory over the years, but a number of us felt that it was important to look again at what has been happening with bovine TB, and in particular the progress, or otherwise, being made by the expert group. So I think it would be useful just to go over some of the old ground, but more particularly try to update that. Now I know, Tim, you have got to get away fairly promptly. (Mr Bennett) I think, Chairman, plans have changed slightly, so I am under no time pressure, to reassure you of that. 2. We are under a time constraint. I think subcommittees are a nice idea but they do tend to run out of steam, or they run out of people; so we are going

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[Chairman Cont] to keep fairly much to time, so it will be somewhat of the order of three-quarters of an hour, but if it slips a little bit then we have not lost you. But can I welcome you and say how much we appreciate the evidence you have given, and clearly we want to update our knowledge and hopefully be able to take forward some of the ideas that are prevalent currently. What I would like to do is just start with a few factual questions, which I know will be relatively easy to answer, and then I will pass over to colleagues. The first question is, what is your understanding of the current level of breakdowns with regard to bovine TB, and what implications has that for your members? (Mr Bennett) Obviously, if you look at the latest figures, in 2002 there was a massive escalation of animals that were culled, the number of herds that were restricted because of TB. Because of the foot and mouth disease in 2001, where we stopped TB testing, until we actually catch up with the tests, the statistics, the actual percentage increase through 2001 and 2002, are actually quite diYcult to get at. What there is no doubt about at all is that the incidence of the disease has not only increased, at probably a faster rate than even we were anticipating, but, more importantly, also it is spreading to parts of the country where we have not seen it for generations; and on top of that, of course, we have got a backlog of testing, at the moment estimated at about 9,000 farms. So the situation out there is of a disease that is growing quickly, is not being contained and is costing the industry and, frankly, the taxpayer more money every year. 3. Have you got a figure on that? (Mr Bennett) We estimate, this year, our figures show that probably we are hitting about £180 million a year, because you have got the Government will spend probably about £60 million, plus the loss to the farmer himself, in terms of business disruption. About three years ago, we published some figures showing that we anticipated that, that trend, at that time, we could have a cost per year of £190 million by 2006; we so disbelieved that, just did not take it as a credible figure, it looks like we are going to get to the £190 million a year, two years early, that is how serious the disease is now. 4. Obviously, one of the worrying instances is the degree of repeat breakdowns; can you say something more about that, because, traditionally, we have been hit in two ways by bovine TB, there has been a spreading-out of the area of incidence, but there has been what seems to be a greater regularity of repeat breakdowns? (Mr Bennett) Yes. There are certain parts of the country that we would call “hot spots”, where you have got constant repeat failures of tests, that people are shut up for, no exaggeration to say, years, they test after test; and those hot spots are actually growing, and in certain parts of the country, it is no exaggeration to say, if we do not find a solution to this problem, the mere fact of keeping cattle will be almost impossible to do, economically, in the future. So we have to find a solution. 5. The final point is, by way of introductory questions, and others must feel free to come in if they want to, what is your current approach towards

animal movements and the possible transmission of TB; on the record, what is the NFU’s approach to animal movements? (Mr Bennett) First of all, in terms of people actually buying animals, we will take the recommendation that you have them tested before you bring them onto the farm, and that has always been our consistent advice. But we have been involved in talking to Government and Defra, over the last year in particular, about making sure that animal movements within areas can be done in a way that does not spread the disease but allows farmers to carry on farming, because it is a terrible problem if you are shut up and you are losing animals, which eVectively is losing your income. And so there have been some changes in the last few months which I think at the moment have not followed through, but I think eventually could be helpful. But there is this balance about keeping people in business, and currently I do not think, if all animals were tested before a move, we have got the resources to do it, but it is something that we would recommend for someone, if they are buying animals it is worthwhile checking their status; but that is not a guarantee. (Mr Rowe) Chairman, just adding briefly to a couple of those points. You were referring to the sheer number of outbreaks we have had, and we have also had quite an horrendous level, over 4,000 herds this year, that have been under TB2 movement restrictions. The interesting thing is, in relation to animal movements, that that follows a year when we had foot and mouth controls, which probably had the strictest animal movement controls in place that we have ever known in this country, you know one, virtually no animals moved anywhere, and yet, following that, when we get back into TB testing, we see this enormous spread that is taking place, which indicates that animal movement is not a hugely strong part of that. What we have seen is, since testing started and since foot and mouth, restocking has taken place, that, yes, some animal movement of TB has happened, it has moved from the west into the north, but that is not an unusual occurrence, it has happened before and usually it is a sporadic outbreak which stops and does not turn into a hot spot; it is this enlargement of these hot spots and this recurrent TB which is the real nightmare that farmers have. And we used to have a situation, when there was an element of badger trapping, where if you had a breakdown and some badger trapping you would have three or four years’, maybe five years’, break before it came back again; now you are very lucky if you get six months and it is back on the farm again. And that is the nightmare we are in, in these hot spot areas. 6. I will put just one thing on the record and then I will bring in other people. I have been contacted on a number of occasions about the problems of restocking. Now, clearly, Tim, the testing would be one way presumably in which you could allow people to restock at an earlier time, I mean that is a fair comment? (Mr Bennett) Yes. The restocking is a very diYcult problem for which we have to find a solution; people losing animals, so their income is going down, also they are shut up. And the ability to trade, within the hot spots in particular, certainly would help people’s

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[Chairman Cont] businesses, and we have been talking to Defra about the way to do that, in the last year, and some progress has been made.

Mr Mitchell 7. Just a layman’s question. It is clear from the evidence that the present system is not working, they feel that Government is not devoting enough money to it, the Krebs triplet trials are not going ahead vigorously enough and the problem is growing. The NFU is the kind of statesmanlike, politically correct, sober, responsible face of farming. How far is it true to say that what you are saying in your evidence represents a membership which has already found the badgers guilty and is voting with its guns, so to speak? (Mr Bennett) There is no doubt at all that, with the disease spreading the way it is and similarly the disease out of control, there needs to be a lot more thought put in as to how we are going to contain and eventually eradicate this disease. All the evidence that we have seen in the past, and we will see what the Krebs trials throw up, suggests there is a link between wildlife and the cows, and that is the purpose of the trials, to further understand that. The NFU’s position at the moment is pretty clear. So as not to interfere with the trials, where you get hot spots developing outside of the Krebs trials areas, and where you then test the wildlife and find that they have got TB as well, then we think that there should be some limited culling of those animals actually to stop another hot spot developing; that is our policy. But, much more fundamental than that, actually I think we have got to start to try to think of some fresh ideas in this debate. This is a disease that is now costing the country and the industry a serious amount of money, it is damaging our reputation across the whole of Europe now, because this is yet another disease we cannot seem to contain, which obviously is worrying, in terms of the reputation of British agriculture, and I think all solutions, and in particular I would draw attention to a more rapid development of vaccine, have to be looked at. I think we have got to bring together the best science we can find around the world, look at what everyone else is doing around the world and perhaps try to find some fresh thinking on this. But, in the meantime, the only way that we can see to stop this disease spreading is actually to take the philosophy that if a cow with TB is put down then wildlife should be put down as well, and, at the very least, on past evidence, that seems to give you an opportunity to slow down the spread of the disease.

main reasons why the disease is leaping from hot spot areas to previously unaVected areas. Are you saying that that does not happen? (Mr Rowe) No; if I could take over from Tim, on that one. Because we do actually acknowledge that TB has moved with animal movements and with restocking; this is part of the consequence of having TB so widespread, and very often quite innocent movement from undisclosed herds that have not had a test. We do not deny that movement takes place; what we are saying is that when that movement takes place, and it is not a new phenomenon, it has been going on for years, those animals usually get discovered at the next subsequent test, the whole problem gets dealt with quite quickly, those animals are removed, that the amplification within the herd is not normally rapid, it takes place hardly at all, it is usually singular animals, they get taken out. The complication we have now is that where, and if, we have got disease movement from bovines to wildlife, which is a possibility, if the disease does not get discovered quickly enough, there could be a potential, once it gets into wildlife, that you get another hot spot starting up. But the characteristic of all hot spots is that they are where you get this huge overlay of a badger population and a cattle population, there is not a hot spot in the country where that does not occur, and in most of these hot spots we know already from past trapping that the badgers have TB. But we do not deny that TB occasionally moves with animals. (Mr Davies) I farm in West Wales, and it is expected that many of the farms in the hot spots in West Wales will clear up towards the spring, so it is accepted that every day now we see more farms being cleared up, but we know very well that by June they will be infected again. Where they are being reinfected from, there is a big question-mark, in fact; we know that fresh stock are not being introduced on those farms, so obviously there is some method of reinfection occurring from wildlife. As a farmer, I want to see healthy cattle, I want to see healthy badgers, I do not want to see the wholesale slaughter of badgers, but I do not want to see any sick badgers wandering around farms either.

Mr Wiggin 9. One of the first things Mr Bennett said was that if you are going to buy a cow you should have it tested. Is there not a fundamental problem that the testing situation at the moment does not work particularly well? (Mr Bennett) Obviously, the test is not 100%, and actually, in a sense, the resources are not there to do it, and it is at the farmer’s own expense before he brings cattle in, so it just adds to the cost of an industry that is already facing very stern competition. But there is no doubt at all, the advice we give to members is, that it is always a good precaution. (Mr Davies) In reality, the local vets in these hot spots are very tied up with testing three days a week, they just have not got the spare capacity to take on individual work and test before these animals are moved. And in reality the farms are under pressure

Mr Jack 8. I just want to test out the rather firm view that you gave us that cattle movement had not got anything to do with the spread. In evidence to the Committee from the British Cattle Veterinary Association, they comment on the fact that there are areas like Cumbria which previously have been free of disease for many years. Restocking, as the Chairman indicated, has been suggested as one of the

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] financially and they are just not going to wait until his local vet, or whatever vet he can get hold of, is going to do the job for him. 10. That is the real problem, is it not, because, first of all, the cost of the testing is at the farmer’s expense, secondly it is a diYcult job, you have got to put the cow through the crush, and thirdly the test is not conclusive, I would never use the expression 100% when talking about testing? (Mr Davies) The other diYculty is actually, physically getting the vet out to your farm to do a private test. 11. So, bearing all that in mind, probably one of the better things that has happened is that there has been some relaxation of movement restrictions imposed on herds in which TB has been confirmed. How, as the NFU, do you balance the need to alleviate the hardship on farmers and still keep an eye on the need for disease control; how do you balance that? (Mr Rowe) What we have actually tried to arrange with Defra on this is more trade between farms of similar TB status, which means that those farms are already under control. We respect totally the movement restrictions when cattle are moving from a non-TB-restricted farm to one that is free, those are very unlikely to take place, but what we have been calling for, to try to ease the problems of movement restriction, is trade between similar status TB farms, and to some extent Defra have now put in place a protocol that will allow that. But, coming back to this earlier point of testing animals before they move, one of the big problems with it is that most farmers know from experience that one of the huge risks you have is, and I know quite a few situations now, where farmers have had a test, done the honourable thing before a group of animals, or sometimes a whole herd, is moved, found there is TB there; 18 months later, after they thought they had sold their herd, they are still trying to clear it up so that they can trade those animals on. And this is where I think we need a whole lot of fresh thinking on how it is going, because actually that is not an incentive for farmers to do the testing, unfortunately. 12. Bearing that in mind, and also I think you have to bear in mind that there is quite a serious lobby of people who are blaming farmers and the way they behave for the spread of this disease, what criteria are you going to use to judge the success of this movement alleviation, which has been going since October last year, roughly? (Mr Rowe) Again, if I can come back to that, the reality is that most of the Divisional Veterinary OYces have not had this protocol in place long enough really to be able to be sanctioning movements, other than almost about right now, that it has not been happening really since October, it is beginning to happen at this stage, and I think it is far too early to draw very many conclusions on what eVect it is going to have. No doubt, Defra are keeping a very close eye on it, much like farmers are, but we have such a severe number of farms stuck on movement restriction now, and the trade problem of those farms is quite immense, it is where the real cost comes. And when farmers have a strong belief, which I think probably is backed up by a lot of evidence,

that the problem is coming largely from something over which they have no control then that is where they feel they need a little bit of latitude within movement restriction. Chairman: If I could take us on now to husbandry, and I think it is fair to say that we were at our most critical in our last report of both Defra and the expert group over the failure to take husbandry measures seriously; but I will ask Candy now to go through some of those in detail.

Ms Atherton 13. Can you tell us something about the costs associated with a TB breakdown; and could you compare those with the costs of changing husbandry practices, particularly where the risks of a breakdown are high? (Mr Rowe) The costs of a breakdown vary enormously from farm to farm, but on the survey work we did some time ago, when we published our original work on farm costs, in the late nineties, we estimated that the average breakdown was costing farmers somewhere about £36,000. Now that is made up of a number of diVerent factors, it is loss of trade of breeding animals, or calves, it is disruption to business through the testing, it is the increased costs of food, through having to keep cattle on the farm, you would not increase intensivity of farming, basically, I have been through situations when I have had to put up new buildings to be able to keep stock. In my own instance, the costings, so far, that I have got to are well over a quarter of a million pounds since the mid eighties it has probably cost my business to live with TB; and with that sort of cost I am interested in doing everything I can to try to protect myself. But the reality is that when you have two animal species, bovines grazing over large areas of land and badgers doing much the same, hunting for worms all over bovine grazing ground, it is almost impossible to come up with husbandry measures that keep the two apart enough to stop and break this link. And what you have to realise is, it takes only one animal in 500 to go down with TB to shut that herd up, maybe for six months, maybe for a year, maybe for two years. I am under movement restriction at the moment and have been so for two years and one month and we are still getting reactors in the herd, the last lot of reactors was three completely diVerent groups of animals that had never mixed with each other, it could not possibly have been animal-toanimal, obviously it was wildlife contamination. We have done everything on our farm that we reasonably can to try to stop badgers getting near our stock, but there is a limit to what you actually can do, they interact so incredibly closely. The possible passageways of the disease are quite numerous as well, and there are obvious things like trying to keep badgers out of buildings, which you can do to the best of your ability, but with an extensive range of buildings and a lot of animals having to feed outside buildings actually it is almost impossible to keep the two apart. You can fence oV setts, although that can be quite diYcult when setts are in open ground where cattle are grazing; fencing oV badger latrines is almost impossible, you have got to keep finding them in the first place and we just do not have the

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[Ms Atherton Cont] manpower to do it. Changing management practices is largely theory really, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that any of it really works, and one person’s theory and ideas contradict totally another person’s. 14. So have the NFU specifically endorsed any cattle-to-cattle and wildlife-to-cattle measures? (Mr Rowe) We have fully endorsed the leaflet that Defra put out about the obvious measures you can take, like trying to keep badgers out of buildings, as far as you can, like feeding from troughs that are high oV the ground, like making sure water-troughs cannot be shared, mineral bins cannot be shared with badgers. But, no doubt Chris Cheeseman will tell you, badgers are quite adventurous and tough animals, they will climb all sorts of things, they are very hard to keep away from those areas in which you are dealing also with feeding anything from calves through to adult cattle. The other problem that you have on farms is that very often you are getting 400 or 500 animals being looked after by two people these days, that is the sort of budgetary restraint we are in, you have barely got time to get the cattle fed and look after them, let alone rush around trying to protect yourself from badgers as well; there has to be a reality to this. 15. What are your views about herd health plans? (Mr Rowe) The majority of good herds I know now operate them, and most herds are under farm assurance plans these days, and they demand herd health plans; in our own instance, we have been suVering with TB for years, we have had health plans in operation for five or six years now, but really it has done nothing to help protect us from TB. There are the obvious instances we have been through already, checking stock when you are buying in, that is an obvious one you can do, but when it comes to a herd health plan to try to protect yourself from a wildlife disease source it is pure theory really. 16. We are quite aware, as a Committee, and obviously you are aware, that there has been concern about reactors not being removed quickly; what do you think are the causes and what do you think ought to be done? (Mr Rowe) Again, that is a very varied picture, it has improved a great deal, a lot of it was due to sort of backlog. The problem is that it depends on the type of animal, if it is an over-30-month animal, often there are relatively few outlets within the area, and if suddenly you have got a lot of them they tend to be on ration to Defra as much as any farmer, and it can take quite a long time to move those; the younger animals usually are moved much more quickly. Obviously, the faster they can be moved oV the farm the better, because there is a potential risk from them, but you are disclosing that risk probably long after they have become a potential risk, so the diVerence it makes is relatively small, but it is not a good state of aVairs to have reactors that are known reactors sitting on a farm any longer than absolutely necessary. (Mr Bennett) It is of great concern that still in certain parts of the country the time taking reactors is still a week.

18. There have been some Parliamentary Questions, but from your memory? (Mr Bennett) Seven or eight weeks, and I am told that in some areas it can still get close to that for over30-month cattle. What is more distressing to farmers is, because of the inability to find a slaughter-house to take under-30-month, that some of those animals now are being put down on farm, and that is not very pleasant, and we have got lots of complaints from our members about having to put down animals on farm rather than sending them away to an abattoir, and that is because they cannot find an abattoir for cattle under 30 months of age. (Mr Davies) I think, Mr Chairman, the most frustrating part of it is the fact that quite often you actually get to the stage where you have your sort of 60-day follow-up test before you have the cattle being removed from the subsequent test. Coming back to the fact that as far as costs go, a farm is concerned, in our situation I have made a rough calculation, I do not know if it is of interest to you, to have a rough idea, we have some 200 cows, in the last year we have lost 20 cows which have been slaughtered, which has meant that we have lost about 120,000 litres of milk from those cows. Also, of course, in the normal state of aVairs, you would lose some cattle from your herd by natural means, which you sell, and in a 200-cow herd you expect to lose about 40 cows, which in that year would contribute about 240,000 litres; the fact that actually you cannot sell your beef cattle or beef calves from the herd, or any calves from the herd, has meant that you have to find milk for those calves and an extra 42,000 litres would have to be found for the calves, which would give you a total cost, eVective cash flow, roughly in the region of £63,000. The fact that you have not been able to sell your calves would mean that your cash flow would suVer also to the tune of about £15,000. The cost of feeding those 150 calves for that period of time, assuming bedding and concentrates, and so forth, would be approximately £12,000, which gives you a total cash flow deficit of about £90,000. When restrictions have been lifted, of course, you expect to sell those 150 calves to try to help, and you would expect to get about £45,000. So in reality it has cost us in the last nine months £45,000, on a 200-cow herd. Chairman: Can we move on now to look at the triplet arrangements, and obviously home in on the Krebs/Bourne trial.

Diana Organ 19. Obviously, the whole reason why this Select Committee a few years ago looked at badgers and bovine TB was that it was the onset of the Krebs trial and the controversy that surrounded that. And one of the concerns was that, of course, in the interim, why we have the Krebs trial, eVectively we have a new policy, and the whole point was that we would set up the triplets because we needed scientific evidence to prove what the links were, if any, and if they were where did they come from, and how great they were, and the whole point of the trial was to give

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[Diana Organ Cont] a scientific basis to the policy that would handle this terrible disease. But, of course, we have had a real problem with the implementation of the Krebs trial. First of all, it took a long time to get started, because of problems with it, and then just when we had got everybody up and running we had foot and mouth disease. So we are in a situation now where the trial was meant to run for only five years, but we are way, way past that. So can I ask you, first of all, what implications does it have on the robustness of the science that we are going to use as the basis for a policy, in the fact that we have had an interruption, it has taken so long to report, all sorts of other conditions have taken its place? (Mr Bennett) We are still supporting the trials, because this seems to be what Government want to do, it is the only plank in finding a solution to the future, though I emphasised at the start that we feel that there should be other policy options going on while the trials are taking place. It is extremely frustrating to farmers that the trials have taken so long. All we can do in terms of the science is take the advice of the scientists themselves about the validity of the trials. What we are convinced of is that at times the trials are not going as quickly as they should, probably because of resource; certainly, on the reactive culling, we see an element of lack of resource going into that part of the trial, and we are extremely keen to get some evidence published as soon as possible ongoing from the trial. And I know it has been suggested there might be some interim results in 2005, frankly I think that is too long, and I think any evidence that is emerging from the trial, even of the caveats of that, of course, the trial is not complete, should be published as soon as possible. This disease is in a diVerent magnitude today from when we started the trials, and I think that all sorts of niceties need to be taken away now, in terms of the science, so that actually we can get some results as soon as possible, even, as I say, with the caveats that the trial was not complete, but, if this trial is going to produce anything, we need to start to look at some interim evidence as soon as possible. 20. You are right that there is supposed to be an interim report, and, in fact, a Parliamentary Question which I asked the Secretary of State just before Christmas, she said she hoped to get the interim report out as soon as possible, but did sort of mouth to me that that could be much earlier possibly than even 2005. But, taking that we are still with that, surely, as an organisation, you are slightly preempting the results of Krebs, because you are calling for reactive trapping in known hot spots. Now you cannot have it both ways, can you, you cannot say, “Well, we’ll support the Krebs trial because we want to know what it says, but, by the way, we’ll ignore the scientific evidence that’s being collected, because what we want to do is just trap reactively in the hot spots”? How do you marry together, what seem to me, those two opposing views? (Mr Bennett) I think our position is extremely sound. We have supported the trials, and I can tell you that is despite much pressure from our members not to support the trials, because we have seen, as an extent of all the evidence we have accumulated in the past on this issue, that the Krebs trial was once again an excuse to put oV decisions that might have been

unpopular, let us put it as bluntly as that. While we have been accepting and supporting and pushing along the Krebs trial, this disease has not only spread to other parts of the country but the incidence is much increased. Now all we are saying is, not to interfere with the trial, but where you get into new hot spot areas, where there is evidence that the wildlife has actually got TB, the same rules should apply to the wildlife as apply to the cattle that my members own. I think that does not aVect the scientific integrity of the Krebs trial, but it might just do something to slow down and help to contain this disease until we come up with what Government eventually are going to do, and must do, to start to take steps to eradicate this disease. 21. If the report comes out, both the interim and the final report from Krebs, in maybe 2003, ’05 and ’07, and it says, “There is not overwhelming scientific evidence that really links the spread of bovine TB from badgers into cattle,” will your members accept that? (Mr Bennett) If the report is based on good science and it has got the scientific authority behind it, they will; but, if I may say so, what my membership want, and the NFU has advocated, is not just to say, “Let’s wait and see what the Krebs trials do,” we are saying, “As an interim measure, we ought to be reactive, in terms of the wildlife in the hot spots.” But I thought the solution to this crisis over this disease was actually a more rapid development of a vaccine, and so we are not sitting around waiting for this Krebs trial, we should be using all the science that the world out there has got, world-class science. There are people who are doing work on this around the world, and we should be developing a vaccine more quickly, because, in my opinion, that is the solution that actually takes this out of the political arena and eradicates the disease. So I think that is just as important, developing the vaccine and looking at what everyone else is doing around the world, as the Krebs trial. 22. Actually, you have almost answered my final question to you, which was, obviously, there may be other ways of exploring the development for future policy actions, and you have mentioned vaccine, you have mentioned, obviously, supplementary diagnostic tests that you would like to see in place. Do you have any other steps that you would like to add to that, so that we can have, shall we say, a much more positive development in the future for policy options? (Mr Bennett) What we feel actually is that this is an issue that the Committee knows has been around for some time; whatever we are doing at the moment palpably is not working, because the disease is not being contained, let alone eradicated, so any new ideas to contain this disease would be extremely welcome. That is why I have advocated looking at what is going on around the rest of the world, the use of BCG on the wildlife in Ireland, and indeed in the southern hemisphere on the possums; so everything that can be looked at should be looked at. And I do feel very strongly that a vaccine development, just telling us it is 10 years away, and it has been 10 years away since I started farming, is not acceptable. We are living in the 21st century, we have made rapid scientific developments, and one starts to believe the

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[Diana Organ Cont] vaccine is not being developed because the companies that could develop it will not be guaranteed enough of a financial return because the Government will not be committed to an eradication programme. If that is the case, I would like to see the Government commit themselves to eradication, and with more resource going into the development of a vaccine. (Mr Rowe) Could I just add to some of those points. I endorse wholeheartedly what Tim has said about the development of a vaccine, and I think we all feel a vaccine is the long-term and probably the most substantial answer we are going to have to this problem, but it needs a lot of resource and a lot of quick thinking put into it; with this current escalation of the disease, we cannot aVord to wait for another ten years, it will be a disaster if we do. Which comes back to Diana’s point about why we want action outside the trial areas, within the hot spots. What the Krebs trials were set up to do, eVectively, was not to try to prove the link, I think Professor Krebs came to the conclusion that circumstantial evidence was so enormous that there was definitely a link between TB in wildlife and TB in cattle; what he was not certain of was how to break it. And, eVectively, that is what the trials, if you actually read, were set up to try to do. The only evidence we have had in the past is that it is virtually the wholesale slaughter of badgers seems to be the only eVective method. I think, if we come back, and hopefully these figures are now being looked at in Defra, what we can see is that the interim trapping policy, the Dunnet trapping, which really was supposed to be in place for only 18 months and was actually in place for nearer to 10 years, was actually having an eVect, and the moment the moratorium on any trapping came along that was when this huge escalation in TB started, and carried on and has got worse and worse. So that it might not have been totally eVective, but certainly it was having some eVect, and I think it was being done on a less rigorous protocol than we would see in the reactive trapping area. Now I have two concerns about the reactor trapping in the Krebs trials, that that is the one area that is being very, very slow to get done in the trials, and really needs a lot more eVort putting into it, but the reason we are calling for reactor trapping outside the trial areas is just to try to contain the disease, to get some control over it. Because we know the circumstantial evidence against this link with the badger is absolutely overwhelming, we know it is there, it is ridiculous to pretend it is not, and we just need to get some sort of lid on what is happening at the moment until we get the final results, basically.

we could be vaccinating in some hot spots and culling in others and just see which one was most eVective at reducing the spread of the disease? (Mr Rowe) The vaccine at the moment is not licensed for use. John Bourne, in ISG, will tell you much more about that, I am not an expert on the processes that have to be gone through, but it has to go through quite a long trial period, we need to get the dosage right, the administration of it right, we need to look at the eVect on other species, possibly. It is not just as easy as saying that there is a vaccine there; if you could line up all the badgers and give them an injection it would be a rather diVerent matter, but it does not work quite like that. 25. I am not sure that is right, actually? (Mr Rowe) They are actually doing some work on it at the moment, but it is a little bit blind and a little bit experimental. I gather what they are now doing is expanding their clear-out area and vaccinating some of the badgers they are allowing to restock, but I think it is on a bit of an experimental basis. In this country, so far, the work on BCG vaccine really has been absolutely nothing, other than casting our eyes on other people’s, and it has to go through quite a lot of oYcial processes before it could be sanctioned over here, I believe; but if it were a possibility we would welcome it. (Mr Bennett) Can I come back to that, because I think it is very important. I said earlier, Chairman, that all possibilities should be explored rapidly, and I think this is just one of those that need to be looked at rapidly, and if it does pose even part of a solution then we should look at a trial of it. There are obstacles, but, hopefully, with the resources situation, some of those obstacles can be cleared away a little bit more quickly. Chairman: I think, with the forbearance of the Committee, we will ask for some up-to-date information on what is happening with vaccination, because I am afraid that there are a number of myths, including various people making claims, which I do not think is terribly helpful at the moment. So, through you, Richard, I think perhaps we can get some information on that.

Mr Jack 26. If human beings manage to develop a vaccine for themselves against TB, have you been told unequivocally that it is not possible scientifically to do it for bovines? (Mr Bennett) No. I think the work that has been done around the world, and massive investment, in terms of a human TB vaccine, which, all our understanding is, that we have been told by scientists, is moving along much more quickly than it had been for some time, individuals talk to us and say that we could spin oV from that research into cattle. We are told by private companies, who I am sure will not wish to be named, that they have got to make sure they get a commercial return for their investment, and that means a long-term commitment from government, and governments around the world, to eradicate cattle TB.

Mr Wiggin 23. You referred to some trapping earlier; were they releasing the lactating sow badgers, at the time? (Mr Rowe) Yes, they were. 24. Would it not be sensible to suggest that we could try vaccination in hot spots? I believe that the current vaccination is about 60% eVective, it is not widely used because it interferes with the tests, and

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[Mr Jack Cont] 27. So, just to be totally clear, you have not been told by the kinds of company that you are unhappy to name that there is no scientific barrier to producing it, because you made a very powerful statement that somebody said 10 years ago, you said which was when you started, and you reckoned it would be another 10 years before something might occur; it seems unusual that there is now a growing problem, a growing market-place, and you say that you have been told there is not a scientific barrier to producing a working, safe vaccine for bovines against TB? (Mr Bennett) We have not been told of any barrier, we have been told that it has to be developed and they cannot guarantee it, but certainly the evidence is that the vaccine could be developed more quickly if there were seen to be, from individuals, outside of government, by the companies, a bigger market for it, because they will put their resources and their investment into those areas where they will get the biggest return. Chairman: Can we be clear, when we are talking about vaccine, are we talking about a badger vaccine or are we talking about a cattle vaccine? Mr Jack 28. I am talking about bovine. (Mr Bennett) It could be both, Chairman. I think, eventually, it will probably have to be both, if you want to compete . Chairman 29. Some would argue that it cannot be both, and that is one of the reasons we need clarification? (Mr Rowe) If I could add a point there. Apparently, for some reason or other, the cow is a very diYcult animal to get a vaccine for; it is actually proving very diYcult to get anything beyond BCG even for humans. Many drug companies have been working for quite a long time to get a more successful, direly needed, human vaccine; now, I think, with modern genotechnology, it may be coming a lot closer. When it does, I am sure it may be possible to tag it suitably, to use possibly even in wildlife or in cattle, but one of the big complications of cattle is that most vaccines are based on immune response but so is this test we use for TB. And if we had to throw the tuberculin skin test out of the window because we were vaccinating, we have an enormous problem in terms of trade and recognising where the disease is; so that any vaccine that is going to be used on cattle has quite a number of problems, (a) what it is going to cost, (b) how often it has to be administered, and c) particularly, that it has to be able to diVerentiate itself very easily so that we can use the TT test. That way, a vaccine for wildlife may be a lot simpler to produce. (Mr Bennett) Can I come back on this one, it is a point I made very early on in giving evidence. I think, actually, rather than just looking at what we are doing in the UK, we need to start looking around the world at what science is doing around the world and taking on board absolutely everything, because we are now in such a serious

situation with this disease that we have to put all the resources we can actually to find out if someone, somewhere, has got the answer, and we cannot just assume that we are the only people that have got the solution. Chairman: Colin, can you move on to other aspects of scientific research. Mr Breed 30. Looking at some of the other work that is running alongside the triplet trials and such, firstly, the road traYc accident survey, you have said that really it is not being properly resourced and there ought to be a lot wider coverage than that. What is the evidence you have got that it is not being properly resourced, and what do you think the benefits will be of getting much more extensive coverage? (Mr Rowe) Basically, we learned through the TB Forum and just experience locally that, because of the foot and mouth interruption, it was just never taking place during that time, it was very slow to get going after foot and mouth cleared up. I think, finally, somewhere around sort of the middle to end of last year, it started oV again in the main seven counties where the trial areas are in operation, and at the moment it is restricted purely to those counties where the trial areas are. What we would like is to extend it across the whole country, because it is the only way we are going to get any sort of handle on badger epidemiology, we just do not know where this disease is, in the badger population. I would like something a bit more sophisticated than the road traYc accident survey, but really that is all we have at our disposal, but it is actually very limited at the moment. (Mr Davies) We definitely need information, if there is a correlation between TB in badgers and the hot spots themselves, that will give us quite a lot of hints for the future, if we correlate the two. 31. Presumably, therefore, you do not think there has been enough work done on the epidemiology to give us the sorts of results we are looking for? (Mr Rowe) In badgers, there is very little work at all, we do not even know the proper head-count of badgers in this country, it is pure estimation at the moment. Mr Breed: You have called for a new survey, have you not, on the whole? Chairman: For a change in the TB99 form, particularly. Mr Breed 32. How would you go about the sort of survey that you are looking for in the overall badger population? (Mr Rowe) There is work being done, I think, through ISG, at the moment, on estimation of badgers, it is possible that Chris Cheeseman later may be able to fill you in a little bit more on details on that, and the sooner that work is done the better, it is just not really being applied at the moment. And, I think, as soon as we can get some more information about badger population and where TB

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[Mr Breed Cont] is in the badger population the better it will be understanding how to try to break that link, or estimate where the next risk areas are going to be. It is just that we have so little information. This is a disease that exists in two very big reservoirs that interact with each other, we know where it is in the cattle population, or we have a pretty fair idea, because we are testing, we have no idea where it is in the badger population. 33. Part of the problem you indicate, in terms of the information gathering, Defra’s TB99 questionnaire, which is rather lengthy, and everything else. I think you proposed some changes to that; can you tell us what the reaction from Defra has been? (Mr Rowe) I think it has been very limited. Certainly, ISG would like to see the TB99 work done; the problem is, it has to be very contemporary, it cannot be something you go back to, because it needs such a wealth of local knowledge from the farmer, and remembering what cattle were in what field at what time, and so on and so forth, and it has got to be done very soon after an outbreak. The problem is that it also demands two controls from similar herds that have not had TB. So actually it is a very resource-hungry, information-gathering system; in theory, it could provide a lot of very useful information. It comes back to the husbandry thing, in particular, whether there are any particular methods of husbandry that do help protect, or whatever, or there is a risk husbandry, or whatever, but it is very cumbersome, and, although potentially useful, it is so cumbersome that we said it might be better to do a shorter, quicker version of it, more often, and come to more or less the same sort of conclusion. It was only because it just was not happening, we just wanted to see something get going. 34. I think we can understand that, in terms of the farmer’s time, and everything else, but what information that currently is being collected would you leave oV it, would you not bother to have collected? (Mr Rowe) One would have to go through it in some detail, and if you have ever seen the document, it is so thick, it is a fantastically complicated sort of document, and also it has to be done on two control farms; and I think it is now being done, and hopefully some information will come from it. But it was quite a cornerstone for gathering information, way back when the trial started, and it just never really got going, it was just totally underresourced; and that was why we suggested that we would have to look in detail, admittedly, we have not, the exact detail, of what we proposed in its place, but it was just an idea that we floated, to get something moving on it. 35. Finally, on the gamma interferon blood test, presumably you are in favour of that, you were saying that it could take a couple of years to get going on that; how would you propose speeding up that blood test? (Mr Rowe) It may be quite diYcult to speed it up, and the tests are designed really to try to evaluate how useful it is. I think we are beginning to get some feedback that the trials, using gamma interferon,

are taking rather a lot of cattle out of some herds, and I think this is beginning to put people oV, farmers, taking part in the trials. Now that needs looking at, as to how we can incentivise farmers to take part in the trials, because I think it is something we need desperately, is a more enhanced, bigger and better test, and we have put a lot of faith in gamma interferon, but we do not want to put blind and false faith in it. We need the work done, but we need to make sure that the farmers who are going to take part in this work, some way or other, do not go through ridiculous hoops to help out everybody else. I think there could be a bit of a problem there. Mr Wiggin 36. This is really quite concerning, because, if the gamma interferon test is good and suddenly the number of cattle that it is showing up as having TB is much higher than you would expect, this is a huge weakness in the whole scientific argument? (Mr Rowe) The gamma interferon test is much more sensitive, in other words, it will show up TB or show up immune response much better than the tuberculin test, but it is much less specific, in other words, it gives you a lot of false positives. One problem we have in this country is avian TB, which overlies, which is why we have this comparative skin test; a lot of other countries only have the bovine skin test, they do not need the comparative avian one because they do not have avian TB like we do. So there are greater complications with the gamma interferon test in this country than there are in others where it has been piloted. And that really is what the test is designed to try to sort out, how useful a tool it is; the perception is that it could be very useful and it could clear up things. But I think it would be wrong to say that all these extra animals that it is taking out of the herd have all got TB, they may well not have, and this is what is frightening a lot of farmers. 37. How many tests have gone on so far, because, certainly, my constituency is a test area and I have not heard of any? (Mr Davies) As far as I know, there is one in our area, the first test that was done, 50 animals were taken out, out of a herd of about 120; well I think that put oV most of the neighbours, because they knew very well that they would not be able to run their businesses, and just milking 70 cows they just would not be able to pay their bills. So, on the advice from their local vet, they would not entertain it. 38. So that, eVectively, what you are saying is the whole test is going to grind to a halt? (Mr Rowe) I think we need to look at that one very closely with Defra. Mr Jack 39. We have got an industry-wide forum; do you think it gets suYcient information from Defra about its work in the area, and, as there is a forum already in existence, why was it necessary to call them ‘industry group’, which seems to have a sort of parallel existence?

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[Mr Jack Cont] (Mr Rowe) As I sit on the Forum, Chairman, I will take that one up. To deal with the last question first, the industry group I think is looking at just more practical details, the sort of day-to-day eVect on the farm; rather the Forum was actually taking a much wider view, with other stakeholders’ interests involved in it. The industry forum really is looking at the practicalities of managing test procedures, farm restocking, destocking, and so on and so forth; so they have slightly diVerent roles to play. The Forum was there really, we understood, in the first place, to discuss all the elements of TB, and I would say we are far from being short of information, we are almost flooded with information at the TB Forum. But, I think, as members on that Forum, we find one of the biggest problems and stumblingblocks to it is the lack of discussion about how to deal with the wildlife issue, particularly when it comes to any talk of culling the wildlife, it just gets stopped dead in the Forum, and we feel that is totally unrealistic, but we do not want it to be dominated totally by that aspect of it. But the TB Forum, to be of any value, must discuss all aspects of TB, in both reservoirs, and how to control the disease, because to pretend there is no overlap and interaction between the two is just plain ignorance ¨ and naıvety. And it is the one thing that is lacking, actually it is why we left the Forum at one stage, because we were so frustrated with this lack of discussion, even, about the influence of wildlife on TB, it centres just wholly and totally around cattle, and cattle testing and cattle movement, and totally ignores one side, one huge and enormously important side, of the TB equation. And we hope that, sooner or later, that gets addressed by the Chairman and that comes back in for discussion. 40. You mentioned the word “control”. Some have floated the idea of an industry-wide levy to deal with those aspects of the spread of TB in cattle; is there any interest in the NFU in that? (Mr Bennett) The fact is, if you try to levy an industry because of a disease that is spreading because of a lack of Government allowing us to take actions to prevent the spread of disease, it is a particularly unfair levy. We know that the Government have indicated that, part of their future strategy, they wish to discuss the use of levies, in terms of animal diseases, but I have to say that insurances and levies can only come into play when the Government themselves have got the right framework and are taking the right decisions to make sure that the disease can be controlled and have got a policy of eradication. Actually not to have a policy and to throw the risk and the costs back onto the industry, frankly, that is ridiculous. 41. Can I ask, just finally, do you think that the advice on good husbandry is suYciently well developed to make it a cross-compliance element in the context of the payment of compensation?

(Mr Rowe) Certainly, I do not think it is. There is a mass of theory about husbandry, but absolutely nothing that is proven, and certainly not scientifically proven. I think, at the moment, it is far too weak an area and there is such a huge diVerence from one farm to another in what husbandry may or may not work. And I come back to the original point, that you can get it 99.9% correct, and in a herd of 500 cows you have to have only one get TB and it has all gone wrong again. So I think, without the science behind it, without the proven knowledge that this particular husbandry will defend you absolutely from TB, it would be crazy to say that we would accept that situation. Chairman 42. We must receive calls to support that. Can I ask just one further question on the testing. I am now unclear what testing is going on, and is it true that the test does not include any longer store cattle, or we are not testing calves? I could do with some clarification. Again, I think we will ask the clerk to find out a few things for us, but, from your knowledge, can you just tell me what animals are tested and how frequently? (Mr Rowe) Very often, if you have animals on the farm that are due to go to slaughter within weeks of having a test done, those animals will be exempted from the test, because the current Meat Hygiene Regulations, Slaughterhouses, deem there will not be a public health risk even if there is TB in those animals, it is a waste of time putting them through the testing procedure because they are going to slaughter anyway. If they had TB they would be slaughtered and enter the food chain, they are going into the food chain in a very short period of time, so most vets and Defra are quite happy to leave them out. In relation to herds in non-TB hot spots, very often calves under six months are not tested because they are not deemed to be at high risk, but I would think it is very, very few herds in hot spot areas that are on frequent testing and have had experience of TB that do not test every single animal on the farm. I know certainly our vets test every single animal, and we would insist they do so, every time. Chairman: Can I thank you for sticking with us. We have lost a couple of people; as you know, MPs are rarely all together for too long. If there is any other evidence you would want to either highlight or bring to our notice that you have not had the opportunity to do, please feel free to send it to us. But, unfortunately, as you have not only just been giving, if you like, a written account, also you have given a televised account; whatever you said will be used in evidence against you. But thanks very much for coming along.

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Supplementary memorandum submitted by Mr Jan Rowe, Vice Chairman, Animal Health and Welfare Committee, National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales (P30a) Animal movements between herds do have the potential to spread disease but there is little evidence that this creates new “hot spots”. In the absence of a wildlife reservoir sporadic TB will clear up in the herd (given adequate testing and culling). We do not believe animal to animal spread within a herd is a significant factor in maintaining TB when regular testing is taking place. All hot spots in the UK are areas where there is a significant badger population, ie there is likely to be a reservoir of infection back to cattle herds. The Protection of Badgers Act is likely to have had a significant impact on the population dynamics of this top predator species. Anecdotal evidence is that of a growing population now becoming a significant carrier of a potentially epidemic disease with little being done to bring this under control. We question if this is a responsible attitude to notifiable disease control. 24 February 2003 Memorandum submitted by the National Federation of Badger Groups (P29b) CONTROLLING BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS IN CATTLE (A more detailed and fully referenced version of this report is available on the NFBG website at www.badger.org.uk) 1. Executive Summary 2. In the wake of foot and mouth disease (FMD) both Government and the public are acutely aware of many farmers’ resistance to taking steps to improving herd health and biosecurity. 3. DEFRA remains dogmatic about the role of badgers in the transmission of bovine TB, even though substantial evidence from its own Independent Scientific Group (ISG) confirms that cattle to cattle transmission is of major importance. 4. Between September 2001 and February 2002, DEFRA allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of TB infected cattle to be sold and moved around the country without being TB tested first. 5. Since February 2002, DEFRA has failed to clear the existing backlog of TB tests ands it has failed to tighten the TB testing regime suYciently to identify new TB hotspots and bring the disease under control. 6. Infectious animals may never be detected before they have transmitted the disease to many other cattle. 7. The current rise in TB incidence is rather like the spread of FMD in slow motion. DEFRA’s incompetence, farming unions’ intransigence and a lack of political will exacerbate the problem. 8. DEFRA is ignoring the advice of stakeholders other than the farming unions. 9. DEFRA is unable to manage a holistic programme of scientific research. Policy decisions are made not on the basis of sound science, but in order to appease the farming unions. 10. DEFRA has failed to implement research into the gamma interferon test in a scientifically robust manner. 11. There is no independent assessment of the implementation of the Krebs’ trial. 12. DEFRA has failed to properly implement the badger road traYc accident survey, a more detailed study of cattle husbandry issues, a statistically valid TB99 questionnaire, reliable TB test data for cattle being sold, or even a holistic research programme into cattle-based TB control measures. 13. DEFRA is not transparent and proactively works to conceal vital information. 14. The NFBG expects the number of TB outbreaks to continue to rise over at least the next two to three years. 15. Scientific research is predominantly focussed on badgers and research into cattle-based TB control measures is not adequately prioritised, suYciently well funded or being implemented with any sense of urgency. 16. The NFBG expects results from the Krebs trial to be available before cattle-focussed research. We expect that badger culling will not prove to be eVective, economically-viable, publicly-acceptable or practical. Ministers will be left with insuYcient evidence on which to formulate a “Plan B”. 17. The NFBG expects small and family farmers to be hardest hit by continued TB outbreaks, with Government and the farming unions doing little to help their situation.

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18. Review of Recent Developments in the Government’s TB control Strategy 19. The NFBG welcomes the Committee’s new inquiry. However, we regret the title of the inquiry which continues to focus attention on badgers at the expense of a more holistic approach to controlling bovine TB in cattle. 20. Following the Committee’s last report there has been a large shift in the public perception of, and the Government’s idealised approach to, dealing with farm animal diseases. The primary motivator for this change was the foot and mouth (FMD) outbreak in 2001. This clearly underlined the farming industry’s extraordinary resistance to taking responsibility for biosecurity. 21. In the wake of the foot and mouth crisis, the NFBG warned that TB would spread and increase in the national herd as farmers restocked with cattle purchased from TB hotspots. We asked then that the Government tighten movement restrictions on cattle in TB hotspots. 22. The Government failed to act and, in September 2001, started to allow the licensed movements of livestock. Four months later the Government imposed movement restrictions on only 1.5% of herds, leaving other at-risk herds free to be moved countrywide. 23. There is now evidence that bovine TB has been introduced into counties previously unaVected by the disease. 24. The NFU has made little eVort to encourage its members not to restock from TB hotspots. The unions even had the gall to blame badgers for the rise in TB, which was clearly the result of the Government’s failure to restrict cattle movements. 25. In 1996, Professor Sir John Krebs stated that, “It is essential that the industry recognises the role husbandry may have to play and that they fully take ownership of the issue.” 26. The consequences of the foot and mouth catastrophe have been played out against a backdrop of other failures in policy implementation and stakeholder negotiations. 27. Ineffective TB Forum 28. The TB Forum has not been eVective in advising Ministers on the full range of views as to how bovine TB should be addressed. 29. The Government now appears to be to circumnavigating the TB Forum altogether. In November 2002, it announced that it had formed a separate “industry group” without consulting the TB Forum. The rationale for this decision and the role of the TB Forum is now unclear. 30. The Obsession with Badgers 31. The Government’s research programme has seen the publication of a number of papers and reports focussing on badgers, whilst research on alternative TB control strategies remains unpublished. 32. Other research of far greater significance, such as a project on the development of TB hotspots through cattle, is still not published or publicly available. 33. We respectfully urge the Committee to consider the process by which DEFRA-funded research is commissioned and published, and the agreements on publication, if any, that are set up between DEFRA and its contractors. 34. Failings in DEFRA’s TB research strategy 35. DEFRA clearly has no grip on its research programme into bovine TB. In July 2001, the NFBG requested a comprehensive list of the Government’s research projects into bovine TB. We wanted to ensure that research was being undertaken to support a “Plan B”. 36. Eighteen months later, we still do not have a comprehensive list of the current research programme. 37. We wonder how the Minister can be aware of the cost and direction of the current programme when a comprehensive list of current research cannot be compiled. 38. DEFRA also does not appear to have a grip on research that has been completed. Eight months ago, the NFBG asked DEFRA for the results of eleven research projects completed since 2000. But DEFRA has been unable to provide us with the results of this research, allegedly because of an “intermittent IT problem”. 39. How can the Minister assess the results of research and consider policy options when his oYcials appear incapable of locating the information? 40. The NFBG respectfully urges the Committee to ask DEFRA when it will publish full details of current and completed research, including the results and raw data of completed work. After all, the research is being funded with public money.

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41. The Impact of the Government’s Autumn Package of Measures 42. We believe that this package of measures will not help to slow the spread of TB and may make it worse. The TB Forum had been consulted about tightening cattle movements and it was clear in its support for tighter, rather than weaker movement restrictions.

43. Licensed Movement off Farms of Non-Reactor Cattle 44. This measure will not improve the control of TB in cattle and may even make it worse. 45. The licensed movement of cattle oV farms is clearly designed to ease the eVect of movement restrictions on farmers’ businesses, and not to control the spread of bovine TB. 46. The TB Forum was not consulted over this proposal which was simply presented as a fait accompli at the tenth TB Forum meeting on 10 October 2002.

47. Imposition of Movement Restrictions on Herds with Overdue Tests 48. This measure is too little, too late. 49. In 2001, the NFBG warned that allowing the movement of cattle with overdue TB tests would have a disastrous eVect on farmers and spread the disease countrywide. 50. On 31 January 2002 the Government announced limited movement restrictions that applied only to the 1.5 per cent of herds tested annually for bovine TB. DEFRA also already knew that high numbers of reactor cattle were being found in some of the remaining 98.5% of herds. 51. Of the 1.5% of herds mentioned above, 20% (166) were found to be infected with TB. Hence, DEFRA allowed thousands of infected cattle to be moved all over the country during the surge of post-FMD restocking. 52. Bovine TB spread to new areas of the country. Many of these new cases have been linked to the purchase of infected cattle from TB hotspots. 53. The NFBG also urged the Government to extend the annual test countrywide and place movement restrictions on all cattle with overdue tests. The Government failed to act, claiming that, “more severe restrictions would not be proportionate to the risk”. 54. The NFBG respectfully suggests that the Committee asks DEFRA to justify this statement. For example, did it conduct a risk assessment and/or a cost-benefit analysis? 55. The reason for the failure to apply rigorous movement restrictions was DEFRA’s inability to clear the backlog of overdue tests. DEFRA admits that the backlog of tests peaked at 27,000 herds. DEFRA does not expect the backlog to be cleared until summer 2003. 56. The continued failure of DEFRA to clear the backlog of TB tests is likely to have devastating eVects on many farmers who will have undisclosed infected animals in their herds.

57. Gamma Interferon Pilot Project 58. In its current form, the gamma interferon project is unlikely to assist in controlling bovine TB in cattle. 59. The NFBG recognises that the current tuberculin skin test is unreliable and we support measures to develop an improved test. 60. In 2000, the Government started a pilot trial to examine the cost eVectiveness of using the gamma interferon blood test in herds with multiple reactors. The research indicated that: it is practical to carry out the test in Britain; the test detects infected cattle missed by the tuberculin skin test; and it is able to detect those cattle earlier than the tuberculin test. 61. The researchers recommended that further work be carried out to improve the sensitivity and specificity of the test and to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. But the ISG has expressed concern that the new DEFRA-designed trial will not have scientific rigour; will not maximise the scientific data gathered; will not answer key questions; and, will not allow Ministers to consider a range of options for future TB policy. 62. DEFRA appears to be incapable of implementing rigorous research and we fear that this will be another lost opportunity for TB control.

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63. Industry Group 64. We regret the establishment of the industry group without prior consultation with the TB Forum. It is the industry which has consistently opposed and weakened cattle-focussed TB control measures.

65. Progress on Development of a Vaccine 66. The NFBG believes that the development of a cattle vaccine must be part of a strategy to control bovine TB in cattle. However, it should not be considered a panacea. 67. DEFRA appears to be increasing its focus on a badger vaccine rather than a cattle vaccine. Progress in molecular techniques means that a cattle vaccine remains a more practical option if there is the political will to see it developed and to have it approved by the EU.

68. Implications of Delays to the Krebs Trial 69. The FMD crisis resulted in the trial being suspended for over a year. We are not convinced by the ISG’s reassurances of the consequences. For example, what is the eVect of culling 7% of herds in trial areas, as a result of FMD? 70. We are worried that there is no independent verification of the work of the ISG when large amounts of public funds are being invested over a long period of time, in a piece of scientific research that is supposed to influence all policy decisions. 71. Many field-based research projects, unrelated to the Krebs trial, were also suspended due to FMD. Will DEFRA ensure that this work is completed? 72. Also, will the results of all the non-Krebs trial research be available for Ministers and others before or at the same time as the Krebs trial results?

73. The Government Response to the Agriculture Committee’s Recommendations 74. Animal welfare in Krebs trial 75. The NFBG remains concerned over animal welfare aspects of the trial. 76. The independent welfare auditor raised a number of concerns and made recommendations to improve animal welfare in the trial. DEFRA has failed to make information available on whether it has implemented all the auditor’s recommendations. 77. Badger road traYc accident (RTA) survey 78. This survey is a pilot and aims to discover whether the prevalence of bovine TB in badger populations can be assessed from examining badger RTAs. DEFRA has finally contracted the survey to one of its agencies, the Central Science Laboratory, and results are not expected for some time. This is a cause of great concern to the ISG.

79. Cattle Husbandry 80. DEFRA has failed to implement Select Committee or Husbandry Panel recommendations. Of seven key areas, one related to badgers and the others were largely cattle-focussed. The only recommendation to have been implemented fully—and already published—is the project on badgers.

81. TB99 Questionnaire 82. DEFRA has focussed the TB99 questionnaire on farms with TB outbreaks and has not rigorously applied it on “control” farms without TB outbreaks. A scientifically valid comparison between the two types of farm is impossible and negates the entire purpose of the questionnaire. 83. This situation has not improved, despite concerns having been raised repeatedly by the ISG. We have concerns of our own. TB99 is too focussed on badgers and is ridiculously subjective. One question asks farmers how often they see wildlife and, if alive, do the animals appear sick. Such muddled research defies credibility. 84. DEFRA’s failure to deliver on this research betrays a fundamental problem: it is incapable of managing science.

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85. TB Forum 86. The NFBG has played a constructive role on the Forum, but has become increasingly concerned at its ineVectiveness. The NFBG has not received any indication from DEFRA that its comments and ideas are taken into account. 87. For example, on five consultations, we have received no feedback. Subsequent policy announcements “produced in consultation with industry group representatives” have been made without consulting or advising the Forum. It is clear who DEFRA does and does not listen to. 88. The only area where DEFRA may have taken Forum members’ views into account is on its proposals to improve cattle control measures. Ironically, none of these have been implemented due to the FMD outbreak. 89. We are also concerned at the persistent focus on badgers by DEFRA and other groups on the Forum. Others have also expressed concern, such as the RSPCA.

90. Frequency of Cattle Testing 91. DEFRA has failed to increase cattle testing frequency. The NFBG believes that DEFRA should increase test frequencies in both high and low risk areas.

92. Testing in High Risk Areas 93. The Government has stated that all herds in high-risk areas are subject to annual testing. However, a review of TB testing frequencies and requirements found that, at the end of 1998, 126 parishes were below the EU minimum standards for TB testing frequencies, as set out in the relevant EU Directive. 94. In the wake of FMD, many herds on annual testing may be overdue for a test by up to two years. In addition, TB outbreaks have been discovered in new areas, many of which are unlikely to have been on annual testing. It is critical that DEFRA ensures that the backlog is cleared quickly and that all high-risk herds are placed on annual testing regimes.

95. Testing in Low Risk Areas 96. Increased monitoring in areas of lower TB incidence is likely to prevent the local spread of infection as well its spread to new areas. 97. The Government’s plans to increase testing in certain low risk parishes were delayed in 2001. This means that the work cannot begin before clearance of the continued testing backlog, which will be in summer 2003 at the earliest.

98. Information on Cattle Test Results 99. DEFRA has failed to make test data readily available when cattle are sold. MAFF refused to include TB test data on cattle passports. DEFRA still has no plans to implement this measure. 100. DEFRA has introduced a “buyer beware” system whereby farmers can request the current tuberculin test report (TB52). It would be interesting to ascertain how many test reports have been requested as a proportion of livestock sold on from TB hotspots. 101. The onus is on farmers to isolate any bought-in cattle, to consider private TB testing for all boughtin cattle, to arrange pre-movement testing and to buy cattle from non-TB areas. But there is clear evidence that many farmers do not take responsibility for disease control. 102. The lack of information about the TB status of cattle is a serious threat to good farm biosecurity.

103. More Accurate TB Test 104. The Committee has expressed concern about the lack of progress on developing a more accurate test for TB in cattle. 105. DEFRA appears to have made little progress in this area (see 57, above).

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106. Future policy options 107. The Committee recommended that Ministers ensure that a “Plan B” is developed in the event that the Krebs’ badger culling trial does not provide clear results. 108. We expect that the Krebs trial will find badger culling not to be eVective, economically viable, publicly acceptable or practical. It is essential that Ministers have the research needed to formulate an alternative “Plan B” for the management of bovine TB in cattle. 109. A major part of this research programme must be to shift the focus to cattle controls, especially in the light of increasing evidence that cattle to cattle transmission is more significant than previously thought. 110. The ISG must be commended for its eVorts to introduce a holistic research programme. However, we regret the obstructive behaviour by DEFRA oYcials that we have witnessed at TB Forum meetings. 111. We are particularly concerned at DEFRA’s persistent focus on badgers and its apparent unwillingness to resource and support research on cattle-based solutions. Badger-culling dogma is alive and well at a senior level in DEFRA, and it is our view that this is slowing progress on developing a truly eVective TB research and control programme. Dr Elaine King 31 January 2003 Examination of Witness Dr Elaine King, Chief Executive, National Federation of Badger Groups, examined. Chairman 43. I will not go through many niceties now, because you heard the first session and I am sure there are a number of things that you want to put your particular perspective to; but if I could start with just a couple of things. And I do appreciate that you keep us all updated, in terms of your excellent website and the e-mails you send out on a very regular basis. We want to start with looking at the Government’s autumn package and some of the changes in cattle movements; you have been quite critical about those. Really I want to know why you saw some of the previous restrictions as helpful, in trying to deal with bovine TB, which you know is spreading, for whatever reason, and what you are now worried about, as a result of the changes that have just come about? (Dr King) We are particularly concerned that, even before foot and mouth disease occurred, the Government did not have strong enough movement restrictions on cattle and movement controls and a strong enough testing regime and, on numerous occasions, as part of the TB Forum, for example, we raised these concerns, but Defra declined to improve those measures. During the foot and mouth crisis we raised concerns that once farmers started restocking again, after foot and mouth, farmers would be in a position where they would be moving untested cattle, that were overdue for TB tests, from TB hot spots into new areas of the country where previously TB had not been found, or where there had not been cases for many years, for example, Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway, North Yorkshire. So we predicted that this would happen. We urged the Government to put strict movement restrictions in place before farmers started restocking, so that the disease would not be spread to these new areas, and the Government did not do that. So now we have found that farmers have been restocking, a lot of the cattle have been overdue for TB tests, they have been moved and, of course, new outbreaks have occurred. So we believe that Defra have not taken enough action and they have not taken it quickly enough. And the package that they have brought in now really is too little, too late, it is quite disgraceful, because there is evidence that Defra knew full well that TB would be transmitted to new areas, it happened after the 1967 foot and mouth outbreak, that has been confirmed in letters that MPs, MSPs, have received from the Scottish Executive, from Ross Finnie, and Defra itself has admitted that in various papers. So we cannot understand why stricter movement restrictions were not put in place at the beginning, though obviously we have our own ideas as to why they were not put in place. 44. Can I be clear, are we talking about restocking and the threat there, or are we talking about a much more general movement ban, including non-reactor cattle, to slaughter? (Dr King) It is a wider issue. Before foot and mouth was a problem we felt that cattle-to-cattle transmission was a significant problem, there is suYcient evidence to show that it is a problem, so we wanted tighter movement restrictions put on all cattle, particularly those in TB hot spots, we wanted annual testing in all TB hot spot areas, areas beyond the annual TB testing areas at the moment, but those were not put in place. And then, of course, foot and mouth occurred, and that has made the situation worse, because the strict movement restrictions had not been put in place, which meant then that farmers were moving infected cattle out of those TB hot spots into new areas. So it was like a time-bomb waiting to go oV really, and, unfortunately, foot and mouth just showed the implications of cattle movements. Defra has accepted that foot and mouth disease was spread largely through the movements of infected animals, TB is really like foot and mouth in slow motion. 45. Finally, before I hand over to Austin to ask about your views on vaccines, can I just be clear on your views on the gamma interferon test; again, you have been quite critical about the possible benefits of

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[Chairman Cont] this in trying to clarify, if you like, the incidence of bovine TB amongst cattle. Now why do you not see this as potentially a much more advantageous way in which we can track bovine TB? (Dr King) Perhaps I should clarify the position. We have always supported the development of a gamma interferon test for its use in Great Britain. Our problem, our concern, is the way that Defra does not appear to be implementing the pilot trial properly. Now we have always supported the gamma interferon test, we were involved in the gamma interferon sub-group that the TB Forum set up, and I attended meetings with the scientists that are involved with the gamma interferon test, and you will be aware that, initially, a small pilot was carried out, before foot and mouth occurred, which was just to see if the gamma interferon test was practical to be used in this country. And the scientists have reported on that recently and they have found that it can be used practically in this country, there are still questions that are outstanding; but the new pilot trial that Defra is implementing gives us cause for concern because it is not being carried out in a scientificallyrigorous manner. And the ISG, the Independent Scientific Group, has put forward proposals as to how the pilot trial could be carried out in a rigorous manner to maximise the amount of scientific data collected and give ministers the maximum possible opportunity to decide on policy options, using the results of the trial, but Defra has not implemented it in the way the ISG recommends. So it means that the ISG is concerned that we are not going to have the answers that we need from the trial; and this is highly significant, we are very concerned. And the gamma interferon test has been shown to be eVective in Australia, so we know it works, we know it picks up infected cattle at an earlier stage than the skin test can, the tuberculin test, so we know that if it is used in cattle herds it can clear all the reactors more quickly; and the significant thing for farmers, of course, is that it is likely to reduce the time that those herds are under movement restrictions, which means that farmers then can carry on their business as normal. So we do support the test and we think it could be a very useful part of a control strategy, but we are concerned that the Government is not committed to it, and that is why they are not putting enough money into carrying out the pilot properly. 46. The gamma interferon test, have you discussed this at the Forum? (Dr King) Yes, it has been discussed at the Forum. The tenth Forum meeting discussed this, and our concern is, as I say, that Defra does not seem prepared to commit the money. And the notes say that: “Sue Eades informed the meeting that the proposal by the ISG would require substantial heavy investment on the part of Defra, notably in relation to the SVS” (State Veterinary Service) “and laboratory facilities to carry out the testing required. A further constraint was the priority in clearing the backlog of TB tests, which would lead to a conflict in the allocation of resources.” So Defra seems to run out of money at its own convenience, because it has never said it cannot put the money into the Krebs trial when it is required, but important strategic measures like this, that really could help, are being starved of funds; and I think that is really important.

Mr Wiggin 47. You mentioned the Australian test; did you hear the points made earlier about avian TB? (Dr King) Yes. 48. And do they have that there? (Dr King) Work is being done to improve both the specificity and the sensitivity of the gamma interferon test, and I understand that the Mycobacterium avian issue is being dealt with. 49. So we will get a better gamma interferon test? (Dr King) Yes. So the more work that is done on the gamma interferon test, it is more likely that it will be more sensitive but also more specific to Mycobacterium bovis, which means, of course, there will be fewer false positives. But the important thing at the moment is that, the loss of those positives, they really are reactors and they are animals that the tuberculin skin test has missed; so really it is very important the gamma interferon test is trialled properly, and that it should be rolled out in this country as soon as possible. 50. But it cannot be rolled out until it is as sensitive as it needs to be though, can it, that is the problem? (Dr King) I think we need to carry out the work so we can see at what point it can be rolled out, we need to carry out a cost/benefit analysis really, to see whether it is worthwhile implementing a test whilst we know that some cattle may well be slaughtered when they are not true reactors, but then that happens anyway at the moment.

Mr Mitchell 51. I am going to ask you about vaccines, but, first of all, would I be unfair if I gained the impression, from this evidence, it is rather like a brilliant defence put up by a very clever barrister to defend a client that is manifestly guilty and prevent that client being sentenced by obfuscating every issue, demanding more research, more detail, more tests and generally criticising Defra? (Dr King) With respect, I think there has been a huge focus on badgers for the last 30 or 40 years, there has been very little work that is being carried out on cattle, which of course is the main problem, very little has been carried out on cattle-to-cattle transmission, the significance of cattle in the transmission of the disease, the impact of more severe movement restrictions, for example. You will be aware that the three so-called independent inquiries that have been carried out into bovine TB have had the remit of looking at badgers and TB in cattle, not the whole issue. So what we want is to redress the balance; we do not mind badgers being looked at in terms of their potential role in transmitting TB to cattle, but also we want the role of cattle in transmitting TB to cattle to be looked at, and that is what has not happened in the past, it is still not happening in the way it should be. And that is why we are critical of Defra, because we do not think that Defra has the will to carry out a balanced research programme, and we do not think it has the will to bring in, for example, stricter movement restrictions that we think will help control the disease.

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[Mr Mitchell Cont] 52. Well, which is your view, that the badger is not guilty, that the case is not proven: which? (Dr King) The case clearly is not proven, because that is the whole point in carrying out the Krebs trial. 53. So you are not saying the badgers are not guilty? (Dr King) We do know that some badgers are infected with bovine TB, we have never argued that; it may well be the case that badgers are involved to a minor extent, and I think this is the important thing, to a minor extent, and I think the Krebs trial is likely to show that either badger culling is totally ineVective or it may work in a small number of cases, but the significant issue will be that cattle-to-cattle transmission is the most important area to deal with. And what we do not want is for ministers to be put in a position where the results of the Krebs trial become available, they are inconclusive and there is no plan B, there is no other research and work to show that actually measures could be taken to control the disease by dealing with cattle issues. 54. In that case, you are being very unfair to Defra, are you not, because, in fact, Defra fears, because it is not politically correct to say that we should arm farmers with machine-guns and send them out to blast the badger population, they are not allowed to say that, they do not want a cull because they know that is not politically correct and all the animal-lovers will be round their necks. Therefore, whether through incompetence, through meanness, or through a general failure to understand the situation or deal with it, they are, in fact, helping your case, because the inadequacy of what is going on helps prolong the trial? I mean the legal trial, not the other. (Dr King) Yes, I realise that. We do not want to prolong the whole issue any longer than it should be. We want a solution for farmers just as much as the farmers do; but it has got to be a solution that is practical for the farmers, obviously humane for the livestock, humane for wildlife, acceptable for the environment and also cost-eVective. And our whole point has been, all along, that badger culling has never been cost-eVective, that was worked out by people who are involved in the ISG, long before the ISG existed, when Dunnet was looking at it, they found that it was not cost-eVective. 55. That says you are not opposed to it, in principle? (Dr King) We need to find a solution that is going to be sustainable, and I think that solution has got to come through better cattle control measures and through understanding what is happening, and that means a science-based policy. Now up until the time that the Independent Scientific Group was put in place the Government’s control policy, its whole strategy, was not based on science, it was based on, I think, as the Select Committee said itself, guesswork and folklore. Well, there are still a lot of people who are working on guesswork and folklore, even within Defra, and that does give us great cause for concern. But what we need is a science-based policy, and that really is what the ISG has tried to implement; it is implementing a trial, but right from the start it said that it wanted to look at the wider issues, and it has encouraged the Government to implement research which is more cattle-focused, and we do support that.

But we want the results of that research to be available before the Krebs trial, or at the same time, so that ministers have a wide range of policy options available to them, rather than just being presented with badger culling, because we think that would be an absolute disgrace, to put ministers in that position. We are still not confident that we have that broad-ranging research programme.

Diana Organ 56. You said, quite rightly, that you want to solve the problem of this dreadful disease, you want to see a science-based policy and that you believe the case for the badger is at present not proven; okay. It is rather like the sort of flip-side of a coin, of the question I asked the NFU. If, as a result of the science-based activity, the policy comes out after the Krebs trial that badger culling is deemed necessary to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle, would you be in favour of that? (Dr King) We would want to see that the Government had looked at all possible policy options. 57. That is a bit of a let-out though, is it not, because if you want a science-based policy and the Krebs trial was to look at, as you said earlier, the extent to which the one transferred from the other, we do not know what the trial is going to be but if it came out and said, yes, it did, to a huge degree, and that the eVective way of dealing with it was that in certain places, in certain instances, you would have to have badger culling, I am asking you the question, would you be in favour of that? Because that is what it hinges on, does it not? (Dr King) You are absolutely right; and I will make my point again, that we do want a science-based policy, and we do want the Krebs trial to be as scientifically-based as it possibly can be, but we need all the other options to have been looked at scientifically as well. Now, if it does show that badger culling may work, we need to know whether that really is the best way of controlling the disease, or whether that is the only way— 58. But that is the point of the Krebs trials. (Dr King) But it is not. 59. That is why, for five years plus, they have been looking at 10 triplets to see the link and to see if it works? (Dr King) But it is looking to see whether badger culling is eVective, it is not looking to see whether badger culling is the most eVective way of controlling bovine TB in cattle, because it is not properly looking at all the other potential ways of controlling it, it is only looking at badgers, and that is the flaw. Chairman: We are going to look at ways of control; with Austin, we are now going on to vaccines. Mr Mitchell: I think you are being very tactful in not doing any analysis between this style of questioning and our problems over the UN inspectors and Saddam Hussein. Chairman: Do not start on that; keep moving on.

and rural affairs: badgers and bovine tuberculosis sub-committee
10 February 2003] Dr Elaine King

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Mr Mitchell 60. I am sorry, I should not have brought that in. But let us get on to the vaccines now. Your evidence says that Defra is focusing its eVorts really on a badger vaccine rather than a cattle vaccine; what are the arguments against developing vaccines for both? (Dr King) The most obvious thing against the badger vaccine is, of course, there is no conclusive proof that badger culling is eVective, or, at least, that badgers are involved in giving TB to cattle to a significant degree. So long as the focus is kept on badgers it means that money is being diverted away from finding other solutions. Now in the early days of the vaccine work Defra said a lot of the initial work on the badger and the cattle vaccine will be the same, a lot of the development work, but the impression I am getting from Defra is that they are putting a lot of focus on the badger vaccine and less so a cattle vaccine, and we are very worried by that because there are all kinds of practical problems with implementing a badger vaccine. 61. Like catching them? (Dr King) You have got to deliver it, you may not need to catch them, I think they are working on a strategy where they are baited with the vaccine with some kind of yummy food, I think they have tried it in Ireland with, I think it was, Badgevac, where they put the BCG vaccine in some kind of food that they fed to the badgers. But the issue really is that it is impractical, and you have got to keep administering it, you cannot just do it once. Then there is the issue of introducing what would be genetically-modified organisms into the environment; so far as I understand it, it may be a sub-unit vaccine, if it is not the BCG vaccine. So you have got all kinds of problems associated with a badger vaccine, but the most obvious one being, if badgers are not a significant source of TB to cattle, it is not going to be eVective. 62. That is jumping to the conclusion, it is the same as “My client is not guilty, therefore he shouldn’t be questioned”? (Dr King) We are saying that we need an equal, if not more so, focus on a cattle vaccine, because it is mainly cattle that we are trying to deal with. 63. Why not both? (Dr King) Because it may be that it is diverting critical resources away from finding a solution. Defra is always saying it needs to prioritise its resources, it does not have enough funding for all the research it wants to carry out; it may well be that this is just a diversion. 64. I think that is a bit feeble. (Dr King) I do not think it is, I think it is critical. We need a vaccine for cattle, that is the important thing. The other point is that it is not going to come quickly either, which is why we are so worried about— 65. That is a tenable position; not saying “My client is not guilty, therefore there shouldn’t be a vaccine,” there is not. You are emphasising a cattle vaccine; what other features should a TB control strategy contain besides cattle vaccine? (Dr King) We want to improve biosecurity. 66. What does that mean?

(Dr King) Improved movement restrictions on cattle and improved TB testing regimes, so more frequent testing of cattle, and also an improved diagnostic test. I know we have discussed this already, but the tuberculin test, as John Bourne always says, it is not the gold standard, it is the bronze standard, and really it is a problem, because it does miss an awful lot of infected animals, it misses one in ten in infected herds, leaving quite a few animals to be transported around the country infecting new herds. So we need a better TB testing regime at the moment, but also developing better TB tests; and we need farmers to take responsibility for biosecurity. The NFU has said that they advise farmers to test cattle before they are moved; well before this meeting I asked the NFU if they could send me any paperwork that they had issued to their members to reduce the risks of introducing TB into their herds, and they could not provide me with anything, and I think that is quite telling. 67. That is placing all the onus on the farmers, is it not, and I notice in your evidence, in the ‘Executive summary’, you say that badger culling will not prove to be eVective and that all the problems will fall on the smaller farmer, though that is not actually said in the report, it is in the summary of the report; but what controls should be exercised on wildlife, countervailing controls? (Dr King) In answer to your question about other measures, the thing we are worried about is that farmers generally do not seem to take biosecurity seriously, we have seen that with foot and mouth disease, and they do not seem prepared to take responsibility for disease control themselves, and there is a whole raft of infectious diseases that are also increasing in the national dairy herds, we have got mastitis, bovine viral diarrhoea, leptospirosis, salmonella, E. coli, a lot of zoonosis as well, and a lot of those come down to simple husbandry measures, good husbandry, that farmers are not putting in place. But with bovine TB there seems to be a mental block, we have got to keep badgers and cattle apart, that is all they can think about; but we need good herd health on farms, which covers a range of diseases. So one of the things we need to do is implement good herd health plans, which also include isolation of stock which have been moved onto the farm, isolation for a period of time so that they can be tested for TB and a number of other diseases, before they are then introduced into the main herd. Now this has been recommended by the NFBG, by other organisations, but for some reason Defra just ignore it completely; and, of course, the farming unions generally resist those moves because it is putting more pressure on their members to implement measures that they do not want to implement. We are concerned about the small and family farmers because they are the ones that are going to be hardest hit by foot and mouth, by bovine TB; often they do not have the resources to provide these facilities that might be required, for example, isolation facilities, and that is why we have asked the Government to provide grants for farmers, particularly small and family farmers, so that they can improve their isolation facilities, improve biosecurity on their farms. Again, the Government has ignored our proposals.

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[Mr Mitchell Cont] 68. I misquoted the evidence. You say you expect “small and family farmers to be the hardest hit by continued TB outbreaks, with Government and the farming unions doing little to help their situation.” So I am just anxious to correct that, although I do not see that in the main report, I see it in the ‘Executive summary’ at the beginning, which is usually the only thing people read anyway. You are continuing there your tactic of diverting attention away from the badgers, you are saying “It’s the cattle that done it.” And I asked you about controls on wildlife, what can we do and what should we do? (Dr King) What kind of controls are you thinking of? 69. You have advocated all sorts of controls on cattle movements, what should we do about the wildlife side of it? (Dr King) There is other wildlife that can transmit to cattle, as I am sure the Committee is aware, bovine TB has been found in deer, deer graze very closely with cattle, but for some unknown reason Defra has always dismissed this as a concern. White-tailed deer are a source of bovine TB to cattle in the US, and the US has a policy of carrying out whole-herd slaughters, and this has worked extremely eVectively. There is just one part of America, in Michigan, where the white-tailed deer are transmitting to cattle, and there they keep the animals apart. But there is other wildlife that probably are transmitting bovine TB to cattle, rats obviously being another issue. 70. You seem intent on controlling everything except the badgers? (Dr King) I think we are redressing the balance here, with respect, and over 30,000 badgers have been killed before now, so it is not as if we are starting with a clear slate, and it has not worked. So what we are trying to do is get the Government to implement a policy that really will work, and it means using a broad-ranging strategy that looks, yes, at badgers but also at cattle and other wildlife and all other measures that may be possible to control the disease. Just focusing on badgers has not worked up till now, and there is no real reason to believe that it will. Mr Wiggin 71. A farmer is entitled to shoot deer and poison rats, but he is not entitled to do anything about badgers, and this is why Austin’s argument about biosecurity and your reply breaks down, because there is nothing a farmer can do legally; that is the problem, is it not? (Dr King) But that is assuming that badgers are a source of TB to cattle, and of course we do not know that. 72. Well you have assumed that deer and rats are, and we accepted that, and therefore equally we can accept that TB is a species-jumping disease, and therefore the farmer has his hands tied by the legal process and cannot actually act on the one species that could well be just one of the vectors for the disease? (Dr King) The diVerence is that there has not been a major eradication programme for rats and deer whereas there has for badgers, as I mentioned, over 30,000 badgers have been killed. It has been tried

since the mid 1970s, using various control strategies, and the overall result is that killing badgers has not controlled the level of TB in the cattle population; but people seem conveniently to forget that. Chairman: Can we move on to look at some other issues, and we will start with Diana, with the triplet trials.

Diana Organ 73. Can I ask just one on this, because people were saying, I think, from the NFU, and I think they raised some concern about it, which really follows on from what my colleague over there was asking, what in your estimation is the population of badgers in England and Wales, in your organisation’s estimation? (Dr King) We have not carried out a census of badger numbers. 74. So you have no idea of the population; do you think they will be threatened then? (Dr King) The only census we have is the National Badger Sett Survey that was published in 1996, I think, and then there was the other one in about 1985; both relied on estimating badger social group numbers from the number of setts that were seen. 75. So you have no idea of the badger population in the UK, in England in Wales? (Dr King) The current estimate is about 300,000 adult badgers, and that comes from the latest survey that was carried out by Stephen Harris, at Bristol University. 76. The distribution of badgers, because the sort of landscape that they live in and they like, you know, it is like all of us, we quite like to live in sort of a Mediterranean clime, but they just quite like it where they can graze around in nice bits of grassland but also go into bits of woodland and hedges. I think they do, because that is where they seem to be, is it not; maybe I am wrong. But what I am asking you is, in those areas where badgers like to be, which predominantly are in the south and the west of Britain, are their populations threatened in those areas, or are their populations, over the last five, 10 years, growing? (Dr King) I think the survey found that generally numbers had either increased or were the same. In most parts of Wales, they had actually declined, and the authors of the report put that down to heavy levels of persecution; and, of course, badger baiting is a big problem in Wales, and in other parts of England and Scotland. 77. You talked a little bit about your concerns about the, shall we say, robustness of the gamma interferon pilot, as a result of foot and mouth, but also you were very concerned, and you were not convinced by the Independent Scientific Group’s reassurance, that, as a result of foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, it would not aVect the Krebs trial. Can you just explain to me why, because the trial was stopped, but why are you not happy about the reassurance that has come from the Independent Scientific Group that actually there is not really any eVect, other than the fact that it is going to take longer?

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[Diana Organ Cont] (Dr King) We are concerned about the statistical power of the trial, and this is something that has been raised with the Committee previously. The Independent Scientific Group, I think, has done its absolute best to implement rigorous research. I think one of the big problems has been that Defra has not implemented the research in a rigorous way. We will talk about that, I hope, later on, for example, the TB99 questionnaire. We would like to see the statistics of the trial verified independently, because this is a hugely expensive operation, it is probably the biggest experiment of its kind that has ever been carried out, it is using a huge amount of Government resources. We do not want the results of the trial to be available in two or three years’ time and then there to be doubt over the statistical robustness of the trial because the stats have not been independently verified. It is the statistics that we are particularly concerned about, and we do not claim to be statisticians, but we do think that an independent assessment of the strength of the trial would be a good idea. 78. So it is not that it is the sort of foot and mouth outbreak per se that gives you concerns about, shall we say, the adverse eVect on the trial, it is actually the statistical plan, therefore you are calling for it to be independently verified; okay. Having called for that, can I just ask you, is it that you really do not trust these people, you think that somehow or other they are going to sit on statistics and nobody is going to notice? And the second part to that is, if it is going to be verified independently, how is this going to be done, when it goes on, who is going to do it, and then are you going to trust the independent verifiers? (Dr King) Yes, I can understand your concerns. We do not think that the ISG are going to fiddle the statistics, but you will probably be aware that concerns have been raised over how they calculated the sample sizes that would be required, and the concern was that the sample sizes still are not large enough to see any diVerence, if there is going to be a diVerence; so if badger culling is actually going to reduce bovine TB in cattle, can it actually be detected. Now this concern was raised, I think you know, by Dr Fiona Matthews; she submitted her paper to a number of scientific journals, and interestingly they were all rejected, and I think she has been quite clear of the reason why, that she was warned oV. And I think it was the kind of publication that people did not want in the public domain. She was told that her work was declined because there were people who did not want it published, because it cast doubt on the scientific robustness of a trial that people had staked their reputations on. 79. So really it comes down to, does it not, that you are concerned about the size of the sample? All these things about, you said, you were unhappy about foot and mouth, because you felt it would adversely aVect the Krebs trials, but actually that is to do with the statistical power that you want independently verified, because you consider that the sample size is too small, hence you are not feeling that the statistical power is correct. So it is down to sample size? (Dr King) That is only one of the concerns.

80. You do not think that Professor Sir John Krebs, who has had a lifetime’s work in doing statistical sampling, actually knows how big the sample needs to be to get some kind of pattern, and therefore some kind of evidence? (Dr King) No, we do not, because the power calculations were carried out after Krebs had published his report. It was Christl Donnelly who carried out the power calculations, not Professor Krebs. So we are concerned not just about the power calculations, we are concerned also about the robustness of the trial because of foot and mouth. 81. Why? (Dr King) Because 7% of the herds in trial areas were completely culled out because of foot and mouth, 135 herds in trial areas, which was 21,000 cattle. 82. But it might be elongated because those herds had been taken out with the culling because of foot and mouth, and so that window when we were looking at the trial is now being tacked on to the end? (Dr King) And we are being given reassurances that the culling of those herds is not going to aVect the scientific robustness of the trial; but I would like to be assured independently that that really is the case. 83. So who would you like to be doing this independent verification? (Dr King) We have not got anybody in mind, but we think, in principle, it should be investigated; because we do not want ministers to be put in the position where the results of the trial are available and yet they are ambiguous. 84. There is a problem there, Elaine, if you are calling for something to be independently verified. You do not have any steer on what would constitute an independent verification? It is a bit like saying, as a business, you have got to go to the auditor and one takes what he says, because he is independent. You must have some steer as to which body you would have faith in to do the verification. Because the problem with this is, Elaine, is it not, that when it all comes out, which went back to my earlier question, if you claim foul on the trial in 2007 because you do not like the statistical power, you do not like the sample base, it has not been independently verified, then you do not have to sign up to what it says. So how can we put into place a position where you have faith in the activity of the outcome of the trial, so that you are satisfied that it is independent, and all the other things; you must have some view about who you want to be the independent verifier? (Dr King) I think the important issue is that it should be somebody who is seen to be independent and who is recognised within that profession. I am not a statistician and I do not claim to be one, but it should be somebody who has an independent reputation as being a reliable statistician who can look at it and give their views on it. But I do not want to get too bogged down in whether we support the trial or not, because, as you know, we never have supported the trial, on the basis of its continuing that focus on badgers, and on the basis of its wasting so much of the Government’s money. And really we think that, to a certain extent, the results of the trial are irrelevant, because we think that the trial is not going to show that badger culling is eVective, or practical, or cost-eVective, and that is why we are really so determined that the Government

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[Diana Organ Cont] should also be looking at cattle, cattle-focused control measures; that is so important, and then it is not getting enough attention. Chairman: Can we finish by just looking at the TB Forum. Mr Breed 85. Can you tell us, just briefly, what problems you may have encountered with the operation of the TB Forum, from your perspective? (Dr King) Yes, of course. The TB Forum was set up originally with the remit to look at alternative strategies for controlling bovine TB in cattle. It was not, as the NFU said, to look at the whole issue, it certainly was not to look at badgers, because the whole point was that, I think, Defra, in setting up the TB Forum, wanted to look at other measures for controlling TB. The Krebs trial was already underway, this Forum was to look at other measures, and, constantly, in the TB Forum, we have had monologues from the farming unions that have been totally unhelpful, they have not provided any constructive comment on controlling bovine TB in cattle, other than calling for more badger culling outside the trial. Now these proposals have been rejected by ISG, rejected by conservation and welfare groups, rejected by ministers, and it was for that reason that the NFU walked oV the Forum in 2000, because they only want to talk about badgers, they are not interested in controlling the movement of cattle, in tighter testing regimes, in biosecurity and in improving cattle health, they see the solution as killing badgers. And that was what they brought to the Forum, and really it very much hindered the working of the Forum until they walked oV in 2000. And actually the meetings after that were a lot more constructive because we did get on to talk about cattle controls, measures that could be put in place now, not after the Krebs trial had been implemented and the results gained, but now, like movement restrictions. But the farming unions have obstructed those proposals all the way, which is why we find it so surprising that ministers have now said they have

worked up this autumn package with the industry, which includes movement restrictions; well they resisted them up till this point, and I think they have only agreed with them now because the damage has already been done, most farmers have already restocked after foot and mouth. And the Forum we thought really would be a way of organisations like ours being able to give our views to other stakeholders, to have those views put forward to ministers in a coherent way; obviously, that is not happening. Defra does not produce minutes of the meeting, it produces its own summary, and we have had to fight quite hard to have information put into the notes of the meeting that Defra has conveniently left out. A lot of that information relates to cattle control measures and reports from the ISG on the pathogenesis work that they are doing on cattle-tocattle transmission, for example. So we have supported the Forum, we have made constructive additions to the Forum, we have commented wherever we could on proposals that Defra have put forward, on proposals that other people have made; we have had absolutely no feedback from Defra ministers as to whether our papers are even read, let alone taken into account. So we are not happy with the way the Forum is operating at all. Chairman 86. Can I thank you for enduring this grilling, though you managed to take it on single-handedly, which says something about your ability to deal with the facts. But, as I said to the NFU, if there were any points that you would wish to raise with us that have not been brought out and you felt would be useful to your case then please feel free to make them, but, unfortunately, for good or bad, you are on the record, which is not just a written record but also a televised one. So thank you very much for coming and giving your evidence. (Dr King) Thank you for inviting me. Chairman: Thank you.

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Dr Elaine King, Chief Executive, National Federation of Badger Groups (P29a) The NFBG is making this submission in response to questioning by Mrs Diana Organ MP on Monday 10 February 2003. Mrs Organ questioned whom the NFBG would accept as an independent auditor of the ISG’s work. The Krebs trial With respect to the Krebs trial, this is a highly specialised field and DEFRA struggled to find an independent auditor of the statistics in 2000. In the event, Professor Mollinson agreed to examine the work1. We would not suggest that Professor Mollinson has any personal bias in this matter. But we regret Professor Mollinson’s statement that “the initial power calculations should be seen as purely indicative”. He went on to accept the arguments by Sir David Cox and Dr Christl Donelly that “the precision achieved in the trial will be determined by the data obtained, totally independently of the correctness of the power calculations”.
1

First report of Statistical Auditor (2000). See www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/publications/auditor/stats1.shtml

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We would draw the attention of the Committee to a letter that Dr Fiona Matthews submitted to Professor Mollinson on 2 November 2000. In the letter, she notes “it became clear that the potential eVects of allocating treatments by cluster had not been taken into account when the sample sizes for the trial were calculated. It was also unclear why a Poisson assumption had been used (and [Dr Donelly’s] explanation contrasted with that given later by David Cox). Unfortunately the ISG decided it would be ‘inappropriate to comment’ on any of the issues raised in [my] paper”. Dr Matthews points out that, if culling badgers causes a fall in the true incidence of bovine TB in cattle by, for example, 50%, “then my concerns will probably be irrelevant. If, however, the reductions in cattle TB are more modest, then there may be serious implications. There has never been a formal statement by the ISG on the minimum eVect size they would judge worth distinguishing from zero”. The NFBG believes that the Committee will understand why we are worried about the concerns that Dr Matthews has raised. If, as we expect, badger culling has little or no eVect on bovine in cattle, then the trial may struggle to determine the precision of any eVect. This will make a valid cost-benefit analysis extremely diYcult. Professor Mollinson stated: “it is important to note that if these initial calculations to prove overoptimistic, it will in no way invalidate the trials, it will simply mean that their precision is less than expected. If the resulting precision is thought too low, the trials could be continued until the desired precision is achieved”. We suggest that the Committee should be alarmed by this situation. Professor Mollinson later adds: “The ISG should give a more refined estimate of the expected duration and precision of the trials once suYcient data are available, perhaps after their first interim analysis”. So, assuming we have an interim analysis in 2004, only then will we know for sure how long the trial will have to continue in order to achieve satisfactory precision. As Dr Matthews points out, if the reduction in TB is substantial, there will be little to worry about. If, on the other hand, the change is very small, the trial might have to go on for years before a meaningful result is achieved. We do not want to find ourselves in 2004 with a statement from the ISG that culling has a small eVect but it will not be possible to quantify for another two, five or—who knows?—10 years. It is unlikely that the Government would continue to fund the trial for that length of time when farming organisations would argue for culling to be resumed immediately, even though the benefits of doing so could not yet be calculated. We fear that the political pressure on the Government would simply be too great. We suggest that DEFRA should seek an expert auditor from outside the UK, who is not directly involved in similar wildlife culling trials for other Governments (for example, New Zealand and Ireland). We believe that it is feasible to select a minimum of three potential candidates and that all interested stakeholders should have the opportunity to comment on the independence of the individuals before a final selection is made. We would like to clarify for the Committee the problems that Dr Matthews’ had in her attempts to have her paper published. In her letter to Professor Mollinson, she states: “five of the six referees’ reports I received last week agreed that the fundamental issues raised were correct. However, the editor concluded that I ‘would find myself considerably outgunned in what might be very public fora’.” TB99 As outlined in our initial submission, we are also concerned about the statistical validity of the TB99 questionnaire: its highly subjective questions; the absence of ground-truthing; and, DEFRA’s failure to implement TB99 on an adequate sample of control farms. The ISG has itself expressed concern about some of these issues. But we feel that an independent expert could further identify subjective and other statistical weaknesses in the methodology. We gained the impression from Mrs Organ that she is concerned that our critique of the Krebs trial and TB99 statistics is part of a longer-term strategy to allow us to reject any findings if they do not correspond with our outlook. Mrs Organ suggested that we would use the absence of an independent audit as an excuse to “not sign up” to any resulting policy strategy. This is not the case. Our intention is merely to guarantee that the trial provides fair and reliable results. This is because it is not only conservation organisations that might criticise poor data on the trial’s completion. Tim Bennett of the NFU yesterday suggested that his members would support the conclusions of the Krebs trial, but with a caveat of the data being reliable. Trials and Tribulations Finally, we would like to comment briefly on the questioning by Mr Austin Mitchell MP, who suggested that the NFBG was rather like a lawyer working hard to get its guilty client oV the hook, through obfuscation. I regret that I do not command a salary of a lawyer, but I do take the view—as does English law—that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In addition, you would expect a defence lawyer to ensure that both sides of the story were heard. This is our intention. There is no shortage of advocates for badger culling. We feel that it is reasonable for us to insist that the options of slaughter, movement restrictions, improved testing

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and other cattle-based solutions should also be fully examined. We believe that research should not be to determine simply whether badger culling works, but whether badger culling is the only solution. If alternative solutions have not been examined, this will not be possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require clarification on any of the issues that we have raised. 11 February 2003 Examination of Witness Dr Chris Cheeseman, Central Science Laboratory at Woodchester Park Research Station, examined. Chairman 87. Chris, you have tried manfully over many years to try to explain the science of all this to me, so you are going to have a go at various other people as well. I think, just by way of an introduction, it would be quite useful, in about three minutes, to explain what you have been doing over the last 20-odd years at Woodchester and how it relates to both previous people’s evidence-giving? (Dr Cheeseman) Thank you, Chairman. To summarise 25 years’ work in three minutes is going to be a problem. Basically, we were given the remit, back in 1976, when we started our project, to investigate the role of the badger in the TB problem in cattle. What we have accumulated in the last quarter of a century, I must not keep reminding myself of the timescale, but it is a long, prospective study, and we have a huge database which has taught us a lot about the population dynamics of badgers, about the epidemiology of the disease in badgers, about the way badgers behave, particularly about the way diseased badgers behave. So it is biological and more focused on the ecology and the behaviour of badgers in relation to how this disease, if indeed it is transmitted from badgers, gets into cattle. So a large element of our work has been actually on the husbandry side, focusing on the risk factors, and we have pinpointed certain situations which we consider to be high risk, farm buildings particularly and places where cattle are fed, and we have work in progress at this moment that is trying to expand the identification of these risk factors, to be able to give advice to farmers on what measures they could usefully take to reduce the chances of their cattle getting TB. We have projects looking at the involvement of other wildlife, which you may like to hear more about, and I will leave that to you, that is species other than badgers that may be implicated in this problem. In the future, we anticipate being involved in the development of vaccines, we have work already which is relevant for this, but, for example, if it is going to target badgers you have to develop a delivery system, it will have to be an oral vaccine, so developing a suitable means of delivery is going to be quite a challenge. We are looking at badger genetics, population genetics is important, questions like is natural immunity to TB a factor in badger populations, if so, the very last thing you would want to do is take out that component of the population; so this is one of the potential downsides of control. Allowing a population to develop natural immunity is a very desirable thing, and some of the culling policies that have taken place in the past may indeed have had that negative impact. Another aspect of our work is concerned with what we call the perturbation eVects, what happens when you remove badgers from the eco-system, is the disease exacerbated by the disruption that takes place when you take badgers out. Because there is no doubt about it, if you remove a large component of a badger population the behaviour of the remaining badgers is highly disruptive, they move over greater distances, there are probably more interactions between badgers, and one of the critical factors in any disease is what is called ‘contact rate’. If one animal contacts and gives disease to one other animal, at least, you have an epidemic on your hands; if it is fewer than one, the disease will decline to extinction. So anything that exacerbates, or promotes, contact is bad news, and the perturbation eVects are something that exercises our minds at the moment. In relation to the trial, we are looking at the impacts of removing badgers in the eco-system in terms of what happens to the other species. One factor, just as an example, to exercise your minds, if you took badgers out, they are key species in the eco-system, they may have an impact on rabbit populations, remove all the badgers, or a lot of the badgers, you may have more rabbits. Ground-nesting birds is another phenomenon, it has been suggested repeatedly that badgers impact on ground-nesting birds in a negative way, and this is something that will come out of our study, because that is one of the aspects that we are looking at. So there is a very wide range, a huge, very broad research programme. Woodchester Park, in Gloucestershire, is our study area, that is one of the worst aVected areas in the country, so we chose Woodchester Park, which has a high density badger population, for the focus of these studies. One of the criticisms that has been levelled is that the data that is emerging is from just that one population; my answer to that is that it is the only data we have got, we would very much like to have lower density data, but it is all that we have got to be able to model the disease. I have not mentioned modelling, by the way, another aspect of our work is modelling, and we are using the data that we have generated to construct models that could be used in a predictive capacity to see what impact certain strategies might have on controlling the disease in cattle. Diana Organ 88. I did ask Elaine beforehand, and she did not really know because that is not her field, about the badger population, and she gave a ball-park figure of about 300,000, and I wonder if I could ask you a couple of questions about what you think the badger population is, are they growing and thriving? They joked at me about this, that they quite like to live in these sort of habitats, which is where we are, in the

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[Diana Organ Cont] South West, but it does seem to me that that is where they seem to be. I drive along the roads of the Forest of Dean and I see a dead badger virtually every week, and that is not because my constituents are worse drivers than those anywhere else in the world, I think it is because there are a load of badgers there. So I wonder if you can just give us some information about your estimate of the badger population, the regional diVerences and where they like to be and what kind of habitats they like, and the problems of that, and are they moving into new areas? Because if we have got the spread of TB, do we have a situation where actually the badger population stays in one area but TB is going all over the place where there are badgers, or are the badgers going where the TB is, or the TB going where the badgers are? (Dr Cheeseman) Elaine pointed out, quite rightly, that the only surveys that have taken place are the two national surveys, one in the mid eighties and one in the mid nineties, and they both relied on counting badger setts to estimate numbers. You can extrapolate crudely from setts to populations, and the last survey put the population at about 300,000plus adult badgers, and it is increasing, on the whole, nationally, there are places where it is going down, there are places where it is going up. I would go along with that estimate. I was asked to put my own estimate on it before the first national survey, and I think I got within about 20,000, just as a guesstimate, you can do that with knowledge of the sort of density they live per kilometre square, and you just multiply up the range of densities and the land mass that we have got that will support badgers.

complex problem, and that is one of the points I would like to make at this juncture, perhaps, for your understanding, it is not a simple issue that the more badgers there are the more TB there is. Diana Organ 90. Also, the other question, which I think was quite crucial, about the expansion of TB in cattle has gone into areas of StaVordshire and up into the Cheshire Plain, but the concentration of badgers, does that overlay, or is there a mismatch between where we have TB hot spots and TB spreading and a growing population of badgers, or is there a smaller population of badgers? (Dr Cheeseman) I think Jan Rowe mentioned earlier that most of the hot spots coincide with high densities of badgers. There are some anomalies, there are some areas where cattle TB seems to occur where there is very little, or even no, TB in badgers, that we know about; so it is a question of perhaps if we looked we might find it. I think, on the whole, there is a correlation between the distribution of the disease in badgers and cattle, but I do not think we should look into it any further than that and deduce a causative eVect. That is what the trial is all about; the purpose of the culling trial is to see whether killing badgers has any impact on the disease in cattle, and that will tell us that fundamental question. Mr Wiggin 91. Am I right to say, if this is not a population density disease in badger population, then it is highly unlikely that the culling, if it reduces the density of the population, will have any impact; unless you specifically cull exactly the right badgers, which are the ones with the disease, it is not going to work, is it? (Dr Cheeseman) It will make it worse. Culling, with the disruptive eVects that I have described to you, and the possible removal of disease resistance in the badger population, could actually make it worse. And some farmers said to we scientists before the culling trial began, “If it had not been for Defra killing badgers on a neighbouring farm, where there happened to have been an outbreak, I wouldn’t have got a problem, because my badgers were healthy, and the population’s been stirred up and now I’ve got a diseased population whereas I had a healthy one before.” And that is a perfectly valid point. 92. Right; so really Defra should be working on the vaccine and forget about the whole— (Dr Cheeseman) No, no; please do not misunderstand what I said. We do not know the contribution of the badger, I do not know whether you are going to get onto the culling trial, but there are two things to say to you here. The culling trial had two objectives. One was to quantify the contribution of badgers to the TB problem in cattle; that objective has gone, it no longer exists, because we compromised the culling strategy that Krebs had envisaged. He was talking about taking out all of the badgers, and if you take out 100% of the badger population and you get an eVect you can say that it was because of the badgers; as it is we are removing, at best, about 80% of the badger population in the proactive strategy, and I have already explained to

Mr Mitchell 89. What area are we talking about, England, England and Wales? (Dr Cheeseman) England, Wales and Scotland. The majority of badgers are concentrated in the south and west of the country, the second part of your question. The habitat in the west of England is absolutely ideal for badgers, indeed it has been suggested that we are farming badgers, because we have created optimal conditions in certain areas, the pastoral system is largely responsible, and badgers’ principal food source is earthworms, they like shortgrass pasture, the more heavily the grass is grazed the more easy it is for badgers to find earthworms, and areas that support the dairy and the beef industry also support high densities of badgers, so the two seem to go together. However, there is a huge caveat here, it does not follow necessarily that the more badgers there are the more disease you will get in badger populations; there is no linear relationship between the number of badgers and the prevalence of TB in the badger populations. Indeed, at Woodchester, we have got a population that has doubled over the period of study, the density of badgers has doubled, and the disease has cycled, with about a seven-year periodicity, and it has gone from highs of perhaps 10% or more to lows of very nearly zero. And that is one of the puzzles, because I was taught, as most ecologists are, that diseases are usually density-dependent, the greater the density of the host species the greater the prevalence of disease; that is not the case with TB in badgers. So it is a

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] you about the disruptive eVects that could make it worse. So there is no way the trial will quantify the contribution of badgers to the TB problem in cattle; however, what it will do—

Mr Wiggin 95. But the other alternative is to vaccinate and forget about badgers at all and actually focus our eVorts on curing the disease, which would have been a constructive and a better use of taxpayers’ money? (Dr Cheeseman) We have heard something about vaccine today.

Mr Mitchell 93. What is the purpose of them then? (Dr Cheeseman) What it will do is satisfy the second objective— Mr Mitchell: Can you prove anything from an 80% cull as opposed to a 100% cull? Diana Organ: There is only enough proactive— Chairman 96. We are confused now, about the whole status, of what is being vaccinated, with what and what is happening internationally? (Dr Cheeseman) Would you like me, Chairman, just to elucidate vaccines and the options, and the pros and cons? Can I preface this by saying that perhaps I am not the best person to ask, I think we should put these questions to the ISG, who have some expertise that is better than mine. 97. We will. (Dr Cheeseman) But I think vaccine is looked at as being a panacea, by some parties, and it is not, either cattle or badger vaccines. It is true that the option has been there for a long time, and it is still being said that it is a long way oV, and you will be aware that the ISG have a sub-committee at the moment looking into the prospects of vaccine for badgers and cattle; they are due to report at Easter. I have been a member of that committee and heard all of the deliberations and I should say this, that it is extremely complicated on both sides, badgers and cattle vaccine. If we take badgers for a moment, delivering a vaccine to the badger population, we do not have an eVective vaccine, or, at least, we do not know whether BCG might work, there is some evidence that it works in New Zealand on possums, and the Irish currently are trying the vaccine in captive facilities; but it is not a very eVective vaccine, even for humans, so I doubt very much that it is going to be very eVective on badgers. And we have two factors to take into consideration, one is the eYcacy of the vaccine, and, two, the proportion of the population that you can actually get the vaccine into. So if you have a vaccine that is 50% eVective and you can only deliver it to 50% of the population, you have only got 25% coverage, so that is the kind of issue that we are up against immediately. Also you have to take into account the fact that I do not think it would be a realistic policy to introduce a vaccine with the intent of eradicating disease, it would not happen, TB is too widespread in the badger population, and you would be committing yourself to a very long-term strategy even to attempt that. So vaccine would have to be administered at least annually, probably twice a year, to make sure that every cohort of cubs, and remember badgers breed once a year, so you have got to make sure the cubs get vaccinated, to have any chance of succeeding. If cubs are infected before they come above ground, which is the first opportunity we could deliver an oral bait, we have got a huge problem, and there is already evidence that pseudovertical transmission, that is transmission from the sow badger to her cubs in the sett, may be an important component of this disease maintaining in badger populations; and if that is the case it is another, really serious, confounding factor. So we

Chairman 94. Let him finish. (Dr Cheeseman) I am just about to put your mind at rest. The only point to the trial, believe me, and I do strongly support the trial, for this reason, it will tell us whether killing badgers has any impact on the disease in cattle, and it is absolutely crucial, because that question has never been answered. The two strategies, the proactive and the reactive culling, are not taking place as designed by Krebs, it is true, so that is why that first objective has been compromised. The second objective is intact, and it is absolutely crucial that we satisfy that, because, as I have already admitted to you, I have been involved in this a long time, and right at the beginning we were asking Defra, or MAFF in those days, to test the strategy that they employed to see whether it had any impact. And I was extremely pleased when Krebs recommended those trials, there were a lot of critics, but I think just about every scientist in the community was extremely pleased that, at last, we were attempting to underpin policy with science. I suppose we have to say that we have been slightly disappointed in the implementation, I think the delays are regrettable but probably unavoidable. And I must say this also, I think that the ISG, Defra, the Wildlife Unit of Defra, everybody concerned has done absolutely everything they can to make this trial work, and it is no fault of anybody that we have had foot and mouth and other things, and it is true that foot and mouth has compromised the trial probably in its duration and particularly with respect to the reactive strategy, it has imposed all sorts of additional limitations that are going to make interpretation diYcult; but nevertheless the trial is still important. I would say, if the trial is abandoned, for whatever reason, what else is going to happen; and I would hate to see us return to the old dogma of, well, I am afraid we have heard some of it already today, there is one camp that says “Kill badgers, because that’s the answer to the problem,” there is no scientific basis to that, and there is another camp that says, “Leave them alone because they’re not involved,” there’s no scientific basis for that either. And I would like to see a scientific underpinning of future policy, and therefore the trial is extremely important.

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[Chairman Cont] have not got an eVective vaccine, and even if we did have it would be a very tall order to make it work. And perhaps, Chairman, if I can suggest that the cattle side is even more complicated, I will not go into that, but it would require policy changes which, I am not a politician I am just a scientist, but we export a lot of bloodstock from this country and we cannot export vaccinated animals, they have to be diseasefree; those sorts of issues are big political issues for the EC and others to consider. And, with cattle, Jan Rowe also mentioned that a vaccine would have to give cattle protection without compromising them against the skin test, and that is not the case with BCG at the moment, although it is a technical possibility that it could be developed in that way. But, again, there are huge hurdles to be overcome to develop an eVective vaccine. We have heard mention of sub-unit vaccines, and sonicated; these are bits of DNA, if you like. The vaccines are usually live vaccines, and these are the most eVective. The problem with sub-unit vaccines is that they are not as eVective, and the only alternative is geneticallymodified vaccines, and I am sure I do not need to tell you that there would be problems with implementing something like that. So I would just like to leave you with the idea that vaccines are hugely problematic. Diana Organ 98. We do not have a live vaccine for use on the wild badger population for their TB, is that what we are saying, we have not got that yet? (Dr Cheeseman) BCG is a live vaccine. 99. Because you said that the human one does not really work terribly well. (Dr Cheeseman) That is right. 100. So we have not got something that is tailormade as a live vaccine for badgers? (Dr Cheeseman) No, we have not. I have just been reminded that there is another problem, and if we have a reservoir of TB in badgers that is one thing, we could have a reservoir in other species as well. Chairman 101. I want to go on to that. Can we just come back to that and talk about the international things, because obviously one of the things that is thrown at us is, the Irish are beginning to get it right, New Zealand have already sorted it, because they just took the possum out, and when we went there they did not want to talk about TB, so either they have sorted it or it is better not to talk to visiting politicians about it. Now what is happening in diVerent parts of the world, because there was a call from Jan Rowe to say we should all get together and get the latest international evidence and we can learn an awful lot from abroad. Is that true? (Dr Cheeseman) With respect to New Zealand, they have a huge problem there, it makes ours pale into insignificance by comparison. 102. That was why they did not want to talk to us. (Dr Cheeseman) And I think they have gone cold on the idea of vaccines, they have gone back to the old policy of blitzkrieging possums, and they do this by dropping poisoned carrots out of aeroplanes, and

for non-target species obviously it is a big problem, and it is not cost-eVective unless it is extremely localised. And that is another thing that perhaps we have not touched on today, the cost-eVectiveness of any policy and who pays. But anyway the only other place in the world where there is a reservoir in badgers is Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland seem to be committed fairly wholeheartedly to the development of a vaccine. I would say that their constraints, their conditions, their attitudes are very diVerent from those that prevail here. It will be interesting to see whether BCG works on badgers, because, as I say, their trials are underway, but I think they will realise very quickly that it is not as easy as just finding out whether BCG works, you have to develop eVective delivery systems, you may have to commit for a long period of time; do you want to do that, and who is going to pay, these are all huge questions.

Diana Organ 103. When you think of bovine TB in New Zealand, it is not through the badger, it is through the possum, but Ireland has got it in the badger; is there anywhere else, other than Ireland and us, that has got badgers with TB and a bovine TB, the two together? (Dr Cheeseman) Anyone else with badgers and TB. As far as I know, there are records on the continent of Europe, and bovine TB has been found in badgers in Switzerland, Italy, Spain. 104. They have got cattle? (Dr Cheeseman) Yes; they do not have a problem, for some reason, in their cattle, a TB problem. So if there is disease present in the badgers, as yet, there is no evidence that they are a wildlife reservoir that is causing infection in cattle. 105. So has anybody studied, say, there is this badger group, to see whether that whole population is immune? (Dr Cheeseman) No. 106. Or there is some husbandry, because the Swiss farmer, for instance, very often, takes their cattle indoors during the winter and then puts them out on the high pasture in the summer; is it something to do with their husbandry that is so diVerent from the way we do it, so they do not have a problem? (Dr Cheeseman) It may be true. I should say that the density of badgers in Switzerland is a fraction of what it is in south-west England, they do not seem at all worried about badgers. It may be that the husbandry is diVerent as well. So, whatever it is, the combination of factors that exist in Switzerland is such that they just do not have a problem, so they are not worried. But, in fact, the first record of TB in badgers came from Switzerland, but it was back in the sixties.

Mr Wiggin 107. What about in America? (Dr Cheeseman) In America, the elk, the bison, the wood bison, these are all carriers of TB, there is a huge problem there with wood bison because they

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] are an endangered species, and there was a veterinary proposal to eradicate one population because of the TB problem, which did not go down too well. Chairman 108. Can we just establish, in the UK, because we have had an international run around the map, what other wildlife species are known carriers of bovine TB? We have concentrated on the badger; there are those who would say, and Austin was touching on this, about what else you could have to take out if you wanted to eradicate bovine TB if you believed that culling was the answer. Can we just have a list of what else is in the frame, just so that he gets his legal brain around this, and also contributing to the case? (Dr Cheeseman) The disease can be present in any warm-blooded mammal species, and so far in this country it has been found in foxes, we have found it in our current studies in all four species of deer, that is red, roe, fallow and muntjac deer, for the first time on record; recently it has been found in stoats, common shrews, woodmice and squirrels. We have only just gone through the intensive phase of this work, which is to establish whether M. bovis is present in any of these species; our next phase of work is going to be to try to establish the extent of the problem, if there is a problem, so there will be some extensive sampling of these species to find out what prevalence there is. And, of course, whether they constitute a reservoir of TB will depend on a number of factors, the density of the host, the prevalence of disease, the pathology that the disease shows in that species, and their ecology. So, for example, if we find that there is an extensive reservoir in the common shrew, I doubt very much whether that poses a threat to cattle; on the other hand, woodmice are found in dairy buildings, and if we find there is a reservoir in woodmice, potentially that could be significant. But in the context of vaccination, if I could just remind you of that, Chairman, if we succeeded even in eradicating TB in badgers by application of a vaccine and there was another wildlife reservoir there that could reseed the infection in the badger population, it would set you back to square one; and where do you go from there. So I just put in that point to remind you that there is no quick fix here, it is a longterm problem and it is extremely complicated, with the potential involvement of other species as well. 109. Can I ask you about something that we have received evidence on, and that is trace elements, in particular, the changing nature of agricultural production, which supposedly has denuded both stock and, through that, the soil of certain trace elements, particularly selenium and zinc. Has this got any merit, this thinking, is it just a contributory factor, or is it one that is a bit of a red herring? (Dr Cheeseman) I think it could be, and it is deserving of investigation, as to whether selenium, for example, could help the immune system combat such a disease, but I believe that there are more important factors, like natural immunity to disease in certain species, the badger included. So whilst these things may have a role to play, I would not put them high up my list of priorities for investigation, I think there are more important issues that we need to know about first.

110. And how do you breed a natural immunity, in either cattle or badgers, given that we could be culling both, including those that may develop a natural immunity? There are those who say this is a disease that we have made a problem, that in reality if we allowed it to be bred through we may end up with an answer, but we keep preventing that from happening. Now is that a viable proposition, or is that just makebelieve science? (Dr Cheeseman) With cattle, you could do it by selective breeding, and that has been done for many attributes that are held to be desirable. With badgers, I am afraid you would have to let nature take its course and allow those populations where natural resistance is present, if indeed it is present, to develop, and it may take generations and generations of badgers. We do have some tantalising evidence from Woodchester that there is such a thing as natural immunity to TB, these are cubs which react positively to the ELISA test, which is a test that just looks for antibodies in the blood. So we know these animals have got antibodies to TB; for the rest of their lives they are negative on testing, so they never develop disease, and there is enough of these animals to make us think that this could be natural immunity. Now our genetic studies, that I mentioned, if these tell us that these animals are in some way genetically related, or similar, that will be another part of the jigsaw and it will tell us whether this phenomenon does exist. And we are getting there slowly, we are piecing together this intriguing jigsaw of whether that sort of phenomenon is important and whether it exists. And then you have to decide whether it is widespread, and, if it is not present in all areas where the disease is a problem in cattle, I suppose you could envisage a policy where you would encourage it, in some way, but that is way down the road and one which at the moment I could not really elaborate, other than hypothetically. 111. So it is fair to say that each of the diVerent proposals, and we have heard, if you like, the two sides fairly starkly presented, but each of the proposals that those sides would propose have their limitations and clearly could be counterproductive, and this is one of the issues to do with bovine TB which makes it so diYcult for us to get a handle on? (Dr Cheeseman) Yes, I think that is true, Chairman. I see polarised arguments and I am only interested in a scientific solution, I think that is the only way out of this problem, it is extremely complex and it is going to be with us for a long time to come. I get a sense of deja vu talking to you today because ´ ` I talked to another Select Committee a few years back and the same sorts of questions were being asked then, the same questions were asked by Krebs, and before him by Dunnet, and before him by Lord Zuckerman. Every now and again this problem causes suYcient angst in the farming and the political community to want to review it, and each time I say just let us get on with the research to underpin a proper, one could call it a holistic approach to the problem. Vaccine may have a role. I believe that culling may have a partial role, although I would say that culling, to me, does not look like a sustainable, long-term policy, it will always come back while the disease remains endemic in badgers; culling, you have to look at the cost-eVectiveness and who is

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[Chairman Cont] going to pay. Husbandry is an aspect that we could find will make a useful contribution to reducing the risks, and I am glad now that Defra is funding work on the husbandry side. We cannot tell farmers at the moment that if they do certain things they will reduce the risks, we can give them commonsense advice, like it makes sense to keep badgers out of buildings and to prevent badgers gaining access to cattle feed in fields, but you cannot say to a farmer, “If you do this you’ll reduce your risks by 50%.” We need to get at that so that they can actually quantify what their biosecurity measures should produce. 112. Can I just ask, there was a husbandry report which as a Select Committee we did very much encourage, and there was some resistance. To your knowledge, are farmers taking much notice of these appeals to improve their husbandry? (Dr Cheeseman) I have to say, Chairman, that I believe farmers could do a lot more to help themselves in the biosecurity of their farm. There are a lot of good farmers out there who do everything possible; but equally there are some pretty shoddy operations where there seems to be a complacent attitude, and I am not sure what we can do about that. Mr Mitchell 113. Your argument to us is one of despair, because while we wait for the scientific evidence, gather all the information, decide not to decide, the problem becomes more rampant; that is no counsel? (Dr Cheeseman) I am afraid, Chairman, that is not my problem. I am as despairing as you are, Sir. 114. But it is this Government’s problem, it is a problem for farmers who are hit by TB and desperately want something done about it? (Dr Cheeseman) I can understand that frustration, but I would say, despite the problems and the delays that the trial has suVered, we absolutely must see this through, I do not want us to go back to 20 years ago, when it was just down to dogma, that would be a very retrograde step. So I would say be patient, let the research take its course and eventually we will get a much better scientific— 115. But you cannot put a time limit on it, you cannot say in 10 years? (Dr Cheeseman) I cannot make it happen any quicker, I am afraid, and that is the reality of life, it just takes time to unravel what is probably one of the most complex disease problems that there is in the world.

Mr Wiggin 116. I was going to say, what else can we do? You have seen this before, you know it is not working; what should Defra be doing? (Dr Cheeseman) I believe Defra is probably doing all it can, and I am saying that without any vested interest. Mr Wiggin: You are the only one, I think, in the whole world. Mr Mitchell 117. No-one else has said that to us, I think, it is not right. (Dr Cheeseman) I believe that perhaps Defra could do more if it had more money. Mr Wiggin 118. If they stopped spending it on badger trials, they would. (Dr Cheeseman) Well, they are spending enough to keep the trial going, but there are other aspects of research that could be done that are not being funded. 119. Like? (Dr Cheeseman) I will give you one good example. All of the badgers that are being killed in the trial, we could be looking at diet, we could be looking at reproductive biology. One of the things that is absolutely crucial, if you start to kill, manage a population, they are going to respond, they are going to turn up the wick and breed faster. We should be looking at those carcases to see just what is happening in the proactive follow-up culls, are they breeding faster; nobody is doing it because there is not enough money to do it, I think that is lamentable. Mr Wiggin: Thank you very much. Chairman: What is left of this Select Committee are fascinated, we could go on all day. But on that point can I thank you for giving evidence, in your usual, frank manner. And, as I said to both the previous participants, if there is anything that you feel that you would like to have said, and have not said, please feel free to write to us, but if you have said it and it is on the record, hard luck, because it will appear not just on the written record but you might be able to see it on Sky on Saturday afternoon, if you have got nothing better to do, which people who watch Sky on Saturday afternoon certainly have not. Thank you very much.

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MONDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2003

Members present: Mr David Drew, in the Chair Ms Candy Atherton Mr Colin Breed Mr Michael Jack Mr Bill Wiggin David Taylor

Memorandum from Professor John Bourne CBE MRCVS, Chairman of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (P35) Thank you for informing me of your intention to hold a further inquiry into badgers and bovine TB. We have, in the past, found the outcome of your inquiries very helpful and we are reassured by your continuing interest. We have not been asked to provide a full formal paper but the points that we would wish to address are covered in detail in Defra’s submission to your Committee. This letter is, therefore, primarily to highlight the key issues on which you may wish to focus when we meet. Since your last inquiry our 3rd report has been published which outlined the progress made on the extensive research programme now in place, which aims to ensure that future policy options are underpinned by sound science. The report also included an outline of a range of potential future policy control options that the research programme was designed to underpin. Following our 3rd report we have had to address issues arising from the foot and mouth disease emergency (FMD). I understand that your Committee has already seen our preliminary report on the impact of FMD on the research programme that we submitted to Defra Ministers in March 2002. We are currently drawing up a further report, now that the eVects of the emergency are clearer, and we have timetabled this to go to Ministers by the end of March. To the best of our judgement the direct eVect of the FMD outbreak on the statistical integrity of the trial is confined to an extension of the date by which conclusions may be expected, but we are very concerned at the consequent delays in data collection and compilation. Following the delays caused by FMD, we have worked closely with Defra to get the research programme, and badger field trial in particular, back on course. Defra’s Wildlife Unit (WLU) has performed admirably in meeting the revised trial timetable and we were very encouraged that all initial proactive culls are now complete and all 10 triplets are operative. Substantial progress has been made with some other parts of the research programme. This includes putting in place an epidemiological study of post FMD restocked farms in trial areas, some of which can be expected to breakdown with TB, plus all farms outside trial areas that restock and subsequently breakdown. This will provide a unique set of epidemiological data that could not have been gathered in any other way. A sub-group of the ISG has also undertaken a vaccine scoping study to assist in advising Defra Ministers on the feasibility of pursuing a TB vaccination strategy for either cattle or wildlife. A final report is expected to be submitted to Ministers in March 2003. Regrettably, there are some elements of the research programme that have experienced delays, where objectives have not been met, and that cause considerable concern. The TB99 epidemiological survey, which the Group from the outset emphasised, is of fundamental importance to the TB research programme has been seriously compromised. It was designed to provide data, not only to complement that from the badger field trial, but also to inform Government and farmers on a range of likely risk factors, including advice on husbandry. There has unfortunately been a considerable shortfall in the number of TB99 forms completed on breakdown farms, and more seriously, control data from farms without breakdowns, which are necessary for a meaningful study, remain uncollected in many cases. We recognise that Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and FMD reduced seriously the SVS’s capacity to collect the data required. However, we regret that the Group must advise that while it may in the near future have the minimum data to undertake a preliminary analysis of the TB99 study in trial areas, that much data will have been lost and that, in part at least, this is due to localised delays in completing forms that cannot be entirely attributed to either CSF or FMD. We have discussed with Defra how more complete data can be collected from at least the trial areas. There have been recent improvements in throughput, following the input of additional resources, and a fuller analysis of the position will be included in the impending report to Ministers referred to above.

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The reactive strategy has also experienced serious delays. The trigger for a reactive cull is a disclosing (positive) herd test. FMD caused a significant backlog in testing, with inevitable delays in initiating the reactive strategy, but this diYculty has been compounded by delays in the WLU being informed of breakdowns in trial areas, some of which preceded the outbreaks of CSF and FMD, making it even more diYcult for the WLU to forward plan its operations. The Road TraYc Accident survey of badger carcasses, which was very slow to get oV the ground, has also been aVected by FMD. The use of contractors over the last year has improved the position and targets are nearer to being met, but the Group still has insuYcient data for robust scientific analysis. Again our report to Ministers will set out the position in more detail. As the Committee will be aware, the ISG has long recognised the critical need for an improved diagnostic test for TB, irrespective of what future policy options might be adopted. For these reasons we have strongly advocated work to refine the gamma interferon test, and have proposed and supported plans for a field trial of the currently available test, to provide the data necessary both to assess its merits and to determine how it could best be used in a range of potential policy options. Against this background, we were disappointed that Defra proceeded with plans for a gamma interferon pilot and ignored the advice of the Group without any discussion. We are assured, by the Minister, that although the pilot has started, our concerns about its design are now being considered seriously to ensure that scientific rigour is applied, that essential data are forthcoming, and that the use of scarce resource is maximised. Looking ahead despite the many problems and setbacks that we have had to face we believe that the research programme that has been put in place will provide the necessary scientific information for evaluating the impact of diVerent disease control measures on the bovine TB problem. I hope that this very brief summary is helpful in enabling your Committee to focus on key issues. We look forward to appearing before you to explain matters in greater detail. If you require anything further before then please let me know. 18 February 2003 Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Secretary of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (P35A) Further to Professor Bourne’s letter of today’s date, to you, I have been asked to send you the table below as the ISG will wish to refer to the figures contained in it when discussing the TB99 questionnaire. Professor Bourne feels it would be of value to your Committee to have the figures to hand. TB99 REPORTS AVAILABLE FOR ANALYSIS AS OF 11 FEBRUARY, 2003 Summary Table Case Forms with at least 1 Control Form (% of Cases) 0 (0.0) 25 (46.3) 50 (28.1) 0 (0.0) 28 (9.9) 103 (18.4)

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Total

Eligible In-Trial Break-downs 3 61 229 145 400 838

TB99 Case Forms 3 54 178 44 282 561

Total Control Forms 0 54 108 0 32 194

Percent of Cases with Controls: 0 1 2 3 100 53.7 71.9 100 90.1 81.6 0 13.0 7.3 0 8.5 7.8 0 13.0 9.0 0 1.4 4.8 0 20.4 11.8 0 0 5.7

18 February 2003

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Examination of Witnesses Professor John Bourne, Chairman, Dr Rosie Woodroffe, Member, Professor George Gettinby, Member, and Professor Sir David Cox, Member, Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, examined. Chairman 120. If I could introduce things. Welcome again, Professor Bourne. I know that you have been around this track not under the guise of Defra but certainly under the guise of the previously conceived Agriculture Select Committee. We are fairly short on time so we are going to move on without any pleasantries. I am sure you have read the evidence from our previous session and saw that there was a stark contrast in evidence, I think it is fair to say, and I am sure we are going to find some interesting points today. This is obviously a topic of considerable interest and concern and anyone from the Princess Royal downwards has been commenting on it so we cannot in any way under-estimate the importance. If I could ask you to introduce your team, I think it would be useful from our perspective. (Professor Bourne) Dr Rosie WoodroVe you will have met before, an ecologist now at the University of Davis, California; Professor Sir David Cox, University of Oxford; and Professor George Gettinby, University of Strathclyde, who are both what I loosely call statisticians. You will get the drift of their expertise as we go through the discussions. 121. Obviously the nature of things is that you bring team members in when you think it is appropriate for them to answer. I am sure everybody will get the chance to make their point of view known. If I could lead in, looking at the current debate and the agreed position that there has been a significant rise in the level of bovine TB and also how Defra have responded to that, what is your view, firstly, on the figures? Is there a dramatic increase or is this just a backwash as a result of the non-testing during the foot and mouth period? How do you think Defra have responded in terms of the autumn package? (Professor Bourne) Sir David at the outset estimated the likely increased incidence based on a number of criteria and the estimate that Sir David made was—and he can respond to this in a moment if he wishes—that there would be about a one and a half to two times increase initially with the resumption of testing following foot and mouth disease which would fall to about a 20% increase over a 12 or 18-month period. We are not quite there yet but there does not seem to be much deviation from the prediction that he made in March/April 2002. So I suppose that is the first comment I would make. The second comment is that there has been an increase in the number of multiple breakdowns. You could of course ascribe that to increased badger activity, you could ascribe that to amplification within cattle herds. It is diYcult to be totally prescriptive about which is contributing the most, but I would suggest that we bend more towards amplification within cattle herds rather than wildlife introduction of disease into these herds. 122. What about the Government’s response in terms of the package? (Professor Bourne) They had a problem on their hands, of course, in getting the testing underway, and catching up with the backlog. They are still catching up with the backlog and that in turn has had an impact on the field trial. We can better explain this when we talk about the reactive culling. 123. Were you consulted on the Government’s autumn package? Was that part of the process of putting that package together? (Professor Bourne) Not strictly, no, in that obviously we have on-going discussions with government but the autumn package was presented to me and I had something like 24 or 36 hours’ notice to respond to that package. I was unable to get this to the group for their response so any response was entirely my own within a very short time-frame which, as I pointed out at the time to Defra, made it impossible for us to give a proper response. Nonetheless, the three objectives—namely to change policy on the basis of a threatened spread of the disease from cattle to cattle transfer has been encompassed within the policy initiative; there has been a move to make it easier for farmers to live with TB, and I think we would all applaud that without, one hopes, any potential for increasing the risk of spread of TB; and the third component of the autumn package, namely the gamma interferon trial, is something we need to discuss with you because we are concerned about that. 124. I picked that up from your letter and I think we need to move on to that in the future. Before I bring Bill Wiggin in, can I just check whether you were actually looking at the impact of cattle spread of bovine TB in terms of any changes in movement controls? (Professor Bourne) We were concerned and have been concerned for some time about the spread of TB outside the trial hot spots, as indeed we are concerned about what is going on in hot spots, and to better inform the debate on what to do outside trial areas we instigated a number of initiatives. One is that we looked at data from what one might call the new hot spots in StaVordshire and Shropshire and under our direction we got this data analysed by epidemiological groups from the University of Warwick and the University of Cambridge, Dr Laura Green leading the analysis of this data. We did so because we wanted to get some feel if we could from what we recognise is inadequate data and data which at the outset was not collected for epidemiological study but nonetheless might throw up some useful information. The finding of the hot spot analysis was that they were unlikely to have developed from wildlife transmission alone. There was almost certainly a cattle component. We could not dismiss wildlife but there was this cattle component which suggested cattle to cattle transmission was having an influence. We also looked and analysed data on the inconclusive reactors. We also revisited old data from previous BROs to see if this would shed any light on the

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[Chairman Cont] potential for culling in a localised situation outside trial areas. We found we could not add to what Krebs had said that there was no evidence that localised culling had any impact on cattle TB incidence, and we also drew up proposals for a gamma interferon field trial. So we were very concerned about what was going on outside trial areas and we spent a lot of time going through various initiatives, we reported back on that to the TB Forum in October and we developed this timetable in conjunction with Defra, and the development of this would go back probably 12 or 15 months prior to October. Mr Wiggin 125. I am not sure I understand correctly. Did you just say that the Government did not consult with you properly on their autumn package and yet they are waiting for you to give them a definitive steer on what to do about this disease? Is that right? (Professor Bourne) I saw the autumn package proposals in August 24 or 36 hours before it was sent on to ministers. We have had minimum opportunity of responding to it since. We were given an opportunity to make some comment and this was in—I forget the details but eVectively the group were not given any opportunity and I was given a very foreshortened opportunity. (Dr WoodroVe) I simply wanted to add to what Professor Bourne was saying apropos your question about cattle movements to say that the TB99 study also is potentially studying impact of cattle movement. (Professor Bourne) David, do you wish to comment? (Sir David Cox) No, thank you. Chairman 126. To wrap this all up with a final question which is, if you like, the one that the NFU highlighted last week in that we are going to talk about pre-testing but also the extent to which movement restrictions whether in place or, as I say, now having been relaxed should be a crucial part of this study that you are undertaking. (Professor Bourne) It is interesting for us to look back and indicate to you what we believe we have achieved over the last five years as ISG. Certainly when we entered this debate there was a large amount of dogma that indicated that cattle-to-cattle transmission was not an issue, it was primarily a wildlife problem that we were dealing with, and that a cattle-to-cattle problem was not an issue because it was dealt with very eVectively in cattle by the use of tuberculin testing. We questioned that, we supported it with scientific data subsequently, and the result is there has been a complete culture change in attitudes toward TB and the way one thinks about it and that culture change is now entering into new policies. We have indicated that there has to be a degree of cattleto-cattle transmission. We are dealing with an infectious disease of a number of species. Infectious diseases move around. Cattle-to-cattle is a reality. We recognise from experimental work that this can occur in the very early stages of infection and is not restricted to the well-developed late clinical case of

which we see very few. We recognise that the early transmitter cannot necessarily be picked up by the tuberculin test. We have also highlighted problems with the tuberculin test which have been experienced in other countries, not just in the United Kingdom where in Ireland it has been reported to have a sensitivity as low as 65% and in Australia it can be as low as 62 or 65%. So we have a problem there that is now recognised. I think what Defra have done with the autumn package is eminently sensible in focusing on cattle movement and cattle transmission. Given that we have no adequate data yet to advise on the wildlife component and what we do about it, and while we fully support the gamma interferon tests (we highlighted this almost from day one and we took it in fact to the TB forum in October 1998 as a potential for use in the field) we are concerned that the gamma interferon test has been applied without any scientific rigour. We have worked extremely hard to get scientific rigour into that field trial with thus far no eVect. 127. So are you in any way engaged with the work that is going on with the gamma interferon test or are you basically just letting Defra push that in its own direction? (Professor Bourne) We are engaged very forcibly but what we are engaged in doing is to persuade Defra of the common sense of our approach and to hope that they will apply that in practice.

Mr Jack 128. Were you in any way surprised at the fact that bovine TB started to break out outside the hot spot areas? (Professor Bourne) No. 129. Why? (Professor Bourne) It was quite clear that cattle movements were going to take place in new areas, referring here to areas particularly in northern England where indeed there had been outbreaks but no history of the development of hot spots or large number of outbreaks, and one would anticipate that cattle movement could lead to these outbreaks developing. I am more concerned about the development of new hot spots at the moment outside of the traditional hot spots than what is going on within the hot spots. That would be my major concern and I discussed this with the CVO in March when I indicated to him what our concerns were and the way you were going to prevent the development of these hot spots was to really throw everything you had at eliminating the disease from these areas, which would involve increased rigour with tuberculin testing, which of course has been done. I believe one could go further than this by considering the use of gamma interferon testing in these breakdown herds but I do think also that more pre-emptive thought should have been given to this likelihood of breakdowns occurring which was absolutely predictable. 130. Given that you have made a number of predictions over the years you have been involved in this area of study and you indicated that you had

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[Mr Jack Cont] discussions with Defra and yet Defra gave you three weeks to comment on their latest proposals, do you think they take you seriously? (Professor Bourne) I would hope so. I think they do. I certainly think they do but I do think the CVO in particular has one tremendous job on his hands getting to grips with the whole of the animal health problem. They are undoubtedly restricted by cash availability for support for the SVS, which I see as a really serious issue, and every time we discuss the TB work with the Minister we express our concern about the resource available for the SVS and the pressures that they are put under. In general, as I say, I would hope they take us seriously but I must say there are one or two other areas where we do have concern about the rigour with which they respond to the things that we ask them to do. Some of this will become clear as our discussions proceed. Ms Atherton 131. Ten years ago in my previous life as a journalist I used to visit farms where farmers had completely lost all of their stock and all of them said that they saw the ultimate answer possibly as being vaccination and that it would take 10 years. I see from my cuttings 10 years down we seem to be no further and people still seem to be talking about 10 years. What is happening in this country and particularly what is happening overseas? Can you describe some of the work and is that providing some enlightenment and some hope? (Professor Bourne) We are near to completing a Vaccine Scoping Study where we have looked at the issue in some depth and we would expect to report to Ministers probably before the end of March or a little after that. The bottom line is we believe there is no potential vaccine that could be considered for use in cattle at the moment. 132. None in cattle? (Professor Bourne) None in cattle. There is no vaccine that shows any improvement upon the vaccine that has been used in the human field for many decades, BCG. The use of BCG even in the human field where it has been used in field trials has resulted in zero protection to 70/75 or 80% protection. Experimental use of that vaccine in cattle has shown protection again of about 60 or 70%. Field trials on the very small scale around individual farms over the past several decades have indicated it can be protective and eVective. For large-scale field trials no eVect has been shown but, not withstanding that data, we still believe BCG for other reasons cannot be considered for use in cattle at the moment. The question is can BCG be used in the shorter timeframe to protect wildlife and there is a possibility of that. Trials are taking place at the moment in Southern Ireland in conjunction with scientists from this country supported by Defra looking at the protective eVect of BCG on captive badgers, badgers taken from the field and retained in captive facilities within Southern Ireland. That work is destined to end in about two years’ time by which time we will have an indication of the likely protective eVect of BCG. It will be most surprising if this work does not show an eVect. The question is what is the next step in developing a vaccine in the field, and it is taking it

into the field but done in a scientific way so it shows clearly that the vaccine is having an eVect not just on badger TB but on cattle TB breakdowns. That is the target and the many steps one has to take in getting to the point where you can show this has been impact on cattle TB will be very long, quite complicated scientifically, and quite costly. 133. You mention cost— (Professor Bourne)—If I could just finish. So with respect to cattle TB, I do not know whether one is looking for an improved vaccine in two years, five years or ten years, whatever. That is just to find an improved vaccine candidate. Having found that candidate, it is then a long haul to develop proof principle and taking it into the field, so we are talking I believe about the long medium to the long term cattle vaccine in reality. Whether one can get to a wildlife vaccine using BCG, even if one could, that is a medium-term timescale that you are looking at. There is no quick fix on this, which persuades us there have to be other control measures in the interim, which could extend from badger culling, on the one hand, to increased biosecurity around cattle which will include diagnosis on the other, and at the other extreme biosecurity including improved security without any wildlife involvement. I am afraid that is the reality of the position and that is what we are working hard to get scientific answers on to advise government on future policy options as quickly as we can. 134. You have answered most of the follow-up questions I was going to ask but do you think that this long to medium-term programme would be reduced with a further injection of funding into the private sector? (Professor Bourne) No, I do not. Certainly not the private sector. I saw the comments from the NFU about private sector interest in this and they could get a vaccine in the field in two years. Frankly, that is wrong.

Chairman 135. Is it Dr Galaxo who says he has got a vaccine ready to use? (Professor Bourne) It was the Galaxo vaccine that was used in Malawi trials in the field some years ago and it would be interesting for you to look in the Vaccine Scoping Report we intend to publish and look at Appendix 4. You will see reference to that particular trial that was carried out and you will not be particularly enthused by that.

Mr Wiggin 136. You said BCG was approximately 60% eVective on cattle. (Professor Bourne) 60 to 70. 137. Do you not think if we could use that vaccine, bearing in mind that cattle are very traceable, a fall by 60% in the number of cases of TB would be a tremendous step in the right direction? (Professor Bourne) Yes, but you have to qualify what you mean by protection. These animals are not sterilely protected. They still develop pathological

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] lesions which although certainly will be reduced, they are still culture positive, so there is potential there for them still to transmit. 138. Surely that will fall? (Professor Bourne)—Excuse me, the problem arises that BCG itself interferes with the diagnostic test. The vaccine could be engineered to ensure that it did not confuse the diagnostic test. You can change the diagnostic test/immunological test but you are still left with the problem of having a wildlife reservoir and if wildlife stimulated a vaccinated protected animal it would respond immunologically and on the basis of current control strategies would be killed. So one would have to change one’s control strategies, which I understand is no easy thing to do, and put in place other strategies and then one could have a problem with the vaccine being relatively ineVective by having a larger number of slaughter house casualties which would be eliminated from the food chain. We are told that EU measures are being taken to make those slaughter house condemnations far more rigid, which puts even greater pressure on a vaccine. These are real problems that would have been to be faced. It is no simplistic thing to think about applying a 60 or 70% vaccine. Those are the very issues that we have laid out in the Vaccine Scoping Study to avoid the idea that there is a quick fix here and we can be rather flippant about how we are using these vaccines. The fact is you cannot. (Dr WoodroVe) Could I just come back to Ms Atherton’s question about timescale and cost just to point out this is not just a question on the badger vaccination side of technology and getting a good vaccine. As Professor Bourne has highlighted, we are still not in a position of being confident of what proportion of TB cases in cattle are originating in badgers, so even if we could find a protective vaccine for badgers we have got no information to know how that would lead to a reduction in risks to cattle. The culling trial will give us some sort of ball-park idea at worst of what proportion of TB cases in cattle are associated with badgers, at least a minimum. And I think at this point we do not know where that ballpark is so we are in the position of feeling quite strongly that at this point we would not be able to recommend, or at least I personally would not be able to recommend putting a great deal of hope in badger vaccination as a way of protecting cattle until we have got more information on the epidemiology of TB in badgers and the risk to cattle posed by badgers, both of which are going to come from the culling trial. Mr Breed 139. The other side of the coin is cattle husbandry. Are you satisfied with the Government’s approach to any research which is currently being undertaken into husbandry issues? What concerns, if any, do you have in respect of the general biosecurity message which is now being taken on board by farmers and the fact that might mask or ignore TB-specific biosecurity measures? (Professor Bourne) There are many facets to that question. If I could perhaps address the last point first. There is general advice on biosecurity that farmers can take with respect to any infectious

disease and this is being pulled together extremely well by the BCVA through the TB Forum and, as far as I know, that advice is being disseminated to farmers. There is some advice based upon anecdotal evidence certainly, perception, with some scientific basis for how one deals with the badger threat. This relates, as you know, it was discussed with you before, to the height of water troughs and all this sort of thing. I would have thought Defra have made sure that farmers are well aware of that advice. I think there is a dual responsibility here. Defra have a responsibility here, which I think in this respect they have met, and farmers have a responsibility to do what they can, and I have reason to believe that some farmers do and some do not. With respect to the research on husbandry, the main thrust of course from our perspective is through the TB99 Epidemiological Survey. As I indicated in my note to you, that has caused us problems and here I think one must question whether we have been taken seriously enough by Defra to ensure there has been adequate data compilation and collection. The figures I have presented with you for TB99, for instance, indicate that within trial areas, let’s just focus on trial areas, there have been 838 breakdowns (that is the last complete set of data we have) for which we only have 103 complete data sets that we could subject to analysis. That is a very small capture rate. The 103 certainly will increase because we have now discussed with Defra and the SVS how one can target resource to increase the number of data sets available to us and we will expect that by April the number of data sets could be over 200, but there is still a large shortfall in data that could have been collected for us to analyse. We are only able now to carry out our preliminary analysis. You will recall from our early reports that it was on the basis of preliminary analysis that we would feel our way forward, as to whether we would wish to modify our TB99 questionnaire or not. What we do urge and shall continue to urge Defra is that they ensure that adequate resource is directed to the collection of TB99 data over the next 12 months, when we anticipate something like 400-plus breakdowns in trial areas, to give us a more substantial amount of data that we can then analyse in the year 2004. Do you wish to respond to that, George? (Professor Gettinby) If we got a normal year this year, 2003, we would expect this to increase substantially. As Professor Bourne has said, we have about 840 TB herd breakdown cases of which we have 569 TB99 forms completed. The constraint is that each of those should have three controls. The number with at least one control is 103, so we are not getting the control information in to make the comparisons between the cases and the controls and this epidemiological analysis would contribute to possible animal husbandry events which might identify an increased risk in TB99. However, we are this month at the 40% stage of the five-year culling trial and if everything went on course for each of the next three years, we would increase at 20% for each of the years, so we are at the 40% mark and moving on, so we could have a very good year this year if there were no other constraints on Defra collecting the TB99 data and in particular getting in the control data.

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Professor John Bourne, Dr Rosie Woodroffe, Professor George Gettinby and Professor Sir David Cox Mr Breed 144. But will such data be available to use alongside Krebs’ trial results? (Professor Bourne) That was the point of doing it in the area where the Krebs trials were so that we could get some idea of validation. 145. So you think there will be suYcient numbers? (Professor Bourne) We do not know. We have not been able to subject this to even preliminary analysis nor will we until we get the first 1,200 figure. We can then decide whether that target is high enough or not and we then move on from there. 146. To go back to the husbandry again, you will be aware that there are all sorts of suggestions coming in from one farmer in particular and I know others have suggested that the way in which the new designs for farm buildings aVect the air quality and things like that. Has there been any research done into the new way in which cattle are housed as part of research in husbandry? (Professor Bourne) No, not as part of the TB programme. I am sure this work is going on elsewhere but not as part of the TB research programme. We are aware that it is important to understand the root of transmission between cattle, is it nose-to-nose or is it across airspace. In the pathogenesis programme which we have advised Defra to put in place, and is in place, it is looking at attempting to answer those very simplistic questions which you would expect we would have answers to but we do not. That work is planned as part of the pathogenesis programme. 147. Before we finish that, has there been any work commissioned to assess any links between deficiencies of trace elements and susceptibility of cattle to bovine TB? (Professor Bourne) No. 148. Presumably you do not believe there is any value in that. Finally, is there any husbandry-related research work which you would like Defra to fund as part of your remit? (Professor Bourne) The question of trace element and the influence of that on disease status of cattle or badger is extremely diYcult work to undertake. As far as I am aware, there are no facilities for doing that work in the United Kingdom in cattle. We certainly would be unable to do that work in badgers in the United Kingdom. There are far more important things for us to understand with respect to the epidemiology of the disease in both badgers and cattle and I would put trace element research very low on my list. It probably would not appear. 149. Is there any other research you think Defra should be funding in this area? (Professor Bourne) No, I think in general the response of Defra to proposals has been adequate and I have no complaints about that. Most of the research we have advocated has been funded. We do have problems, as you know, with gamma interferon. We did propose a research programme on the breakdowns outside hot spots last year which Defra said they could not fund but, in fact, that has been overtaken by the study that is now in place on postFMD breakdown restock farms which should [Continued

[Mr Breed Cont] 140. You know that these TB99 forms are considered to be rather time-consuming for farmers and vets. Would you propose, as has been suggested by some, a shorter version so you could increase the number of forms that you get back? (Professor Gettinby) We have given a lot of thought to this. The reality is that collection which involves the farmer usually takes approximately two hours, two and a half hours at the most. A great deal more work has to be done once the veterinary oYcer takes it back and does completion at the desk stage. We do not think it has been too demanding at the farm level but the intent is if we could get suYcient TB99 with their controls we could do this interim analysis with a view to cutting down on the TB99 form completion in future years. So we are conscious of that but we have not been able to do that because we have not been able to get suYcient TB99 completions. 141. So you have not been able to draw any broad conclusions as yet from analysis of the TB99s you have actually collected? (Professor Gettinby) The interim analysis for TB99 is scheduled over the next two or three months and we would expect by mid-summer to be able to draw some inferences from the TB99. (Professor Bourne) There is no doubt that the SVS were faced with a considerable problem post-FMD. We are now seeing a response from Defra in that they are contracting outside help to support SVS in getting the TB99 data collected and compiled, but the problems that we identify, which we did identify previously, precede FMD, so it has been an on-going problem but now we do see some light at the end of the tunnel with this. It is important that we get total co-operation in getting this done and enough resource to get all of the breakdowns covered for the next 12 months in trial areas.

Chairman 142. Can I be clear for the record, what other species beside badgers are part of the road traYc accident survey? (Professor Bourne) No other species. 143. Is that by choice? (Professor Bourne) Yes, it is. The whole purpose of the road traYc accident survey was that it was the only way we had an opportunity of determining prevalence of TB in badgers outside the trial areas short of actually killing badgers and doing full PM as we do within trial areas. We do not know if the RTAS will be a useful indicator of prevalence. That is why we restricted it initially to the seven counties, the areas where the hot spots were so that we could get some data to validate the technique. You know the history of the RTA, and up to June last year although our target was 1,200 badgers a year in the first instance to give us an analysable data, again to feel our way forward, this is the way science develops, we only had 200-plus badgers up to June last year. Since then it has been contracted out to another group, it looks as though we will be on target from last June to June 2003 to reach the 1,200 figure for the first time, but even then we do not expect any useful analysable data for another year after that.

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[Mr Breed Cont] provide interesting data. Of course, we could not have done that without FMD so it did provide a golden opportunity to do that.

Mr Wiggin: Do you want to say a bit more about gamma interferon?

Chairman 150. Were you integral to the way in which that research was set up? (Professor Bourne) Many of the research projects that have been set up are based on concept notes written by the ISG and this was no exception in that respect. We wrote the concept note and that was then discussed with a number of scientific groups who were encouraged to put in built up proposals to this and this was subsequently funded by Defra so, yes, we were.

Chairman 153. We want to go on to look at the culling side and progress on that. (Professor Bourne) I have embodied everything I want to say in what I have just said. We recognised from very early stages that we needed an improved diagnostic test to either complement or replace the tuberculin test. The tuberculin test has its faults as indeed does the gamma interferon test. We need to have information to give us a relative comparison of how they operate in the field. You can get some idea from work done overseas, but it has to be done in our own environment. There is an opportunity with the field trial, by including controls, to get a comparative assessment of the eVectiveness of tuberculin compared to gamma interferon. There is other work which one can do to complement that, whole herd smaller studies, again based upon concept notes that we have written, but these two projects are complementary. Defra appreciated that we were developing protocols for the gamma interferon tests. They chose to develop their own protocols without informing us that they were doing so and they took their protocols into the field without giving us the opportunity of discussing their protocols with them or indeed our criticisms of their protocols. You asked earlier whether we were taken seriously by Defra. I do believe that Ministers have taken us extremely seriously and but for Mr Morley we would not now be discussing our protocols with Defra with a view to changing the scientific design of the interferon trials. I return to what I said about badger culling. We believe we need to put a scientific pilot trial in place to give us information to build on the next steps. When comparing the gamma interferon proposals that we made with the Defra proposals, the increasing cost relates to collecting blood and carrying out gamma interferon testing and asking the SVS to do a more diligent post mortem examination of animals that are killed. There will not be any more animals killed or very a few animals killed in the approach we have taken. We have suggested we work with 150 herds in the first instance, not the 600 that Defra are targeting. We do accept there is a legal problem in that we are getting results from gamma interferon tests but not using those results to take conceivably infected animals from the national herd. If you cannot overcome that barrier there is no way forward and we are just not going to get this data. We believe it is critical that we do. The concern we have is indicated by the eVorts we have made to get our case across to Defra and Defra Ministers and we will continue to do so. Chairman: We must finish on the trials.

Mr Jack 151. As somebody who is an interested observer but not an expert in this field, do you know of any other cattle diseases where the timescale to investigate and evaluate data has been quite as long? (Professor Bourne) BSE. 152. Does it match in terms of timescale the work that you are doing? I know that is continuing work but there does seem to be an imperative now that has been lacking. (Professor Bourne) Yes, but I think you have to remember that although bovine TB has been a problem for decades, there was no forceful work done on understanding the pathogenesis of the disease in cattle until we put a programme in place in 1999. The fieldwork was directed to culling badgers and the way it was done (in an unstructured, nonscientific way) did not allow one to gain scientific evidence to take the next steps. It is worth dwelling on that for a moment because what we have done within the trial is pursue the badger culling policy as part of the trial but it is being done in a way that will provide sound scientific evidence to take those next steps. It is interesting to reflect that when the badger removal operation was in place 1,000 badgers a year on average were killed. We have averaged 1,000 badgers a year so far in the culling trial but last year we killed 2,500. That is in ten trial areas in hot spots of TB. You would expect that to be having an eVect on local incidence of TB, if it is going to have an eVect, and national figures. Time will tell just what influence it has. But to suggest Defra have let the thing slide over the last five years by fiddling while Rome burns I think is quite wrong. There has been a trial done in a way which does provide scientific data for next steps. There has been a move now to do something about controlling cattle to cattle movement and cattle to cattle transmission which you can see in their new policies, but these are the very arguments that we bring back to gamma interferon. That trial should be organised and scientifically designed not to answer one question which takes you nowhere but to provide information which allows us to take a subsequent few steps forward. That is the way science goes. It can be integrated into part of the policy approach in the way that the culling of badgers has been integrated, in our view, into a policy approach.

Mr Wiggin 154. One of the problems we are worried about is that the trials will not be conclusive. I wonder if you are going to provide Ministers with an interim piece of advice and to what extent will any interim piece of advice allow policy to be formulated?

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] (Professor Bourne) Defra interim advice probably will not do that but, yes, we are committed to presenting interim advice to Ministers in the next two month time-frame on vaccine scoping, progress of the trial, TB99 and reactive strategy. TB99 we have discussed, reactive strategy we can embrace in comments now. We estimated 12 months ago that foot and mouth disease would not have a serious impact on the trial. In fact, it did give us opportunities to carry out work on restocked farms which we have already discussed. There was certainly a loss of trial years, and you will recall from our Second Annual Report that the statistical power of the trial was based on triplet year figures in respect of the proactive cull. The eVorts of the Wildlife Unit have regained lost ground so by the end of 2005 we would have met the fifty triplet year target which was our pre-FMD target in our Second Annual Report. Thus with respect to the proactive trial, the situation is fairly healthy. Just one proviso in that two of those proactive trials were delayed because of the impact of FMD, so there is a possibility that the data in those two proactive areas will be less vigorous because of badger migration. The evidence suggests to us that has not been a serious issue so with proactives we are looking, we believe, at a termination date of the end of 2005, possibly extending into 2006 by three to four months. 155. That is a fairly long time. (Professor Bourne) It is what was predicted from the outset and we have not moved away from that. With reactive it is very diVerent in that what triggers a reactive cull is a breakdown. With no testing in seven trial areas in 2001-02 it does result in seven lost triplet years. That has been further eroded by the backlog in reactive response experienced by the Wildlife Unit and whilst one would hope there will be a recovery in the next year, I anticipate there will be a further backlog at the end of this year. That is brought about by a number of reasons, firstly, the serious backlog in testing and the hump of breakdowns that one has to deal with. The diYculty of the Wildlife Unit forward planning the work programme in a reactive strategy at best is further compromised by the hump. It is also compromised by the time delay between the breakdown of incidence and the reporting of those to the Wildlife Unit. We have considered all these issues with Defra and we will report to the Minister on that in the next couple of months with optimism that the reactive culling will be back on track by the end of the next year but there will inevitably be some extension beyond 2005 before we can reach the 50 triplet years with reactive culling, but of course we are totally dependent on the strength of the data. One thing that helps us is the increased number of breakdowns which we are experiencing in trial areas which increases the statistical power for analysis. Do you wish to comment on that further, David? (Sir David Cox) No, I do not think so. I think you have summarised all the key points. 156. Just briefly then, we have not got much hope on the vaccination front, we have not got much hope from your report coming out in March that the Government will be able to formulate policy on this; have we got any hope to look forward to at all or is it going to turn out that Princess Anne was right?

(Professor Bourne) Princess Anne is right but what Princess Anne did not answer is the question, okay, badgers are involved, but what the hell do you do about it? We do not know. That is the whole point of the trial. I repeat, if one looks back five years and sees where we have come from, there has been a complete culture change in the intellectual approach to TB with respect to recognition that something needs to be done about diagnostic testing and recognition that cattle movement of the disease is a reality. We still do not know what proportion of the disease is caused by cattle transfer and what proportion is caused by wildlife. We do not know that and it will be some time before we get answers. The policy has been developing based upon those hypotheses nonetheless. I return to the statement that we are culling badgers and if that is going to have an impact one would expect to see an impact, given we are working in hot spot areas, on national incidence of disease if it is going to be eVective at all.

David Taylor 157. Professor Bourne, you referred a moment or two ago to your Second Report and in Appendix A of that report you resisted a call for reactive trapping of badgers and the killing of badgers outside the trial treatment areas, did you not? Do you think that advice should be changed in the light of the explosion of TB incidence that we have seen taking place over recent months? The NFU in their evidence to us were certainly pressing that that was in early need of overhaul. (Professor Bourne) I can understand the frustration of the NFU and I have discussions with the NFU on a fairly regular basis but our position remains exactly the same. We have looked at past badger removal operation data and we could not move any further forward than Krebs on localised badger removal, that there was no evidence it had any impact on cattle TB. The whole point of the trial is to answer that question. Until we have the data from the trial to allow us to answer that question, we cannot move from our position and assume that culling badgers is going to have an impact. Scientifically we just cannot do that. I would go further and say there is no evidence it has an impact, there is no evidence it does not have an impact; there is a suggestion that it could make it worse. So, no, our position is unchanged. Rosie, would you like to answer, being on Krebs? (Dr WoodroVe) I think I would simply concur. I advised the Krebs Committee and I would concur with everything you said. (Professor Bourne) I would add one point. I believe there was virtual elimination of badgers from the Thornbury area in the1970s and early 1980s. Krebs’ conclusion from that was that provided compelling evidence for the involvement of badgers in cattle TB. I think in retrospect, given the evidence we have from Australia where they eliminated water buValo, and evidence that I think is likely to come from Southern Ireland, that elimination of badgers would have an impact on cattle TB but the question is does anything short of elimination have an impact on cattle TB, and that is precisely what we are investigating in the trial. If I could just make one other comment. Australia

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[David Taylor Cont] controlled their TB by eliminating water buValo. That is not all they did, they put in very strict, draconian biosecurity movement laws and they also used gamma interferon tests to augment the tuberculin tests. They were draconian in biosecurity in a way that we are not in this country. Chairman 158. As somebody who has read the Thornbury evidence one of the sad things about it was there was no scientific rationale ever carried out. The danger of that is it is anecdotal evidence rather than purely science. I am sure you would agree with that. (Professor Bourne) I think an even bigger problem was there was no scientific design to the badger removal operations, and that is what we have attempted to put right in the trial. (Dr WoodroVe) I simply wanted to add to that that whilst we are very interested in results coming from Southern Ireland I should add that that trial is basically comparing culling virtually all of the badgers with culling quite a lot of them and there are no culling experimental controls associated with that experimental design, unlike ours.

(Professor Bourne) May I make a final comment. I do not think it is generally appreciated the steps that we have achieved with Defra in the last 5 years to put in place a substantive research programme to address these very serious real problems. We have achieved a lot in the last 5 years and we are confident we will find answers to help ministers tackle this issue. We also stated from the outset that any approach will be multi-factorial, there is no magic bullet here, there is no golden bullet. It has to be a multi-factorial approach. Inevitably these approaches do take time to unwind. 159. Those final words are a very good point to finish on. Thank you for the evidence. You have left us with a few problems in terms of the report we have to compile. I had better pass on quickly and get the minister in now. (Professor Bourne) We are quite happy to help you write it. Chairman: One thing you can never oVer to a select committee is to help them write a report. Thank you.

Memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural AVairs (P34) PROGRESS REPORT BY DEFRA ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE FIRST REPORT OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE, SESSION 2000–01 ( HC92) “BADGERS AND BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS: FOLLOW UP” 1. This report gives an update on progress of the Government’s five point plan for dealing with bovine tuberculosis since the Agriculture Committee’s First Follow Up Report on Badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis (20 December 2000 HC 92) and the reply submitted by the Government (4 April 2001 HC 409). 2. The issue of TB was debated in Westminster Hall on 21 May 2002. The EFRA Committee was given an initial assessment by the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) of the likely impact of FMD disruption on the Krebs trial under cover of a letter from Deirdre Kennedy of 12 June 2002 to Gavin Devine. An update on the implementation of the former Committee’s recommendations was also put forward by Defra at year end and is published in the Committee’s Annual report (23 January 2003 HC269). 3. This paper recognises the diYculties caused by the FMD outbreak and sets out the positive steps that have or will be taken to address bovine TB in cattle once the backlog of TB testing has been reduced further.

Introduction 4. The Government welcomes this opportunity to update members of the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs Committee on the current situation with regard to bovine TB. The Committee’s support for the strategy in general and the culling trial in particular has been important in this diYcult and emotive area. Annex A to this memorandum provides detailed information updating the Government’s response to the follow up report of the Agriculture Committee. 5. Since the Government’s response to the Agriculture Committee of 4 April, there have been a number of developments which have a significant bearing on the approach to bovine TB. Defra, which was established on 9 June 2001, is the champion of sustainable development. This role together with the publication of the Policy Commission report on the Future of Farming and Food, “Farming and Food, a sustainable future”, has focused attention on the economic, social and environmental consequences of Government policies including those in the animal health field. In particular, the Policy Commission recommended that: In view of England’s abysmal animal health record in recent years, Defra in consultation with the industry need to devise and implement a comprehensive animal health strategy. This recommendation was accepted in the Government’s response to the Policy Commission report, “The Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food—Facing the Future”.

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6. The Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) epidemic of 2001 also had the eVect of highlighting the significant consequences of animal disease not only on livestock farming, but also on the wider rural community and associated industries such as tourism. The main report of inquiries into the epidemic, the report of the Royal Society into the 2001 FMD outbreak, “Infectious diseases in livestock” and the report of the Lessons to be Learned Inquiry into Foot and Mouth Disease 2001, both supported the recommendation of the Policy Commission. 7. Defra is therefore in the process of developing an Animal Health and Welfare Strategy which we expect to publish in the summer of 2003. Although the Policy Commission Report referred to the animal health situation in England, the development of an Animal Health and Welfare Strategy will be taken forward together with Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales. This reflects the fact that GB constitutes a single epidemiological unit, and that the State Veterinary Service is a GB wide organisation. A joint consultation document was issued on 8 January. During the development of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, the three GB environment and rural aVairs departments will work in partnership with industry, specialists and the wider community to provide an overarching framework for the development and implementation of policies in all areas of animal health and welfare. Clearly, any Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain would be incomplete if it did not encompass bovine TB. 8. However, it is recognised that the process of developing a strategic approach which takes due account of the views of stakeholders will not be quick enough to satisfy all concerned that the Government is doing all that it can to address the immediate problem of bovine TB. A number of policy options which might be introduced in the short term are therefore under consideration. These include: — clearer implementation of EU legislative requirements, possibly with a more fundamental review of the powers available under the Animal Health Act; — review and redistribution or increases of test frequencies in certain areas; — tailoring TB controls according to TB risk by area and/or herd health history; — the introduction of pre movement testing; — requiring on farm management action to reduce TB risk to cattle (for example, post movement testing with on farm isolation, herd health plans); — additional testing in certain areas; — improvements in delivery of TB controls which might be made through the development of a new relationship between the SVS and LVIs; — increasing the pool of people trained to test for TB and available to deliver testing (including the possible use of lay testers); — streamlining service delivery processes within SVS in order to improve eYciency and reduce administrative delays; — speeding up removal oV farms of cattle that react to the tuberculin test (in part by reviewing and simplifying the compensation process). — Some of these measures will be dependent on the availability of SVS resources. 9. The Government remains committed to finding a sustainable solution to the problem of TB in cattle based on the best possible scientific basis. Some £16 million has already been spent between April and December of 2002 for surveillance to identify the spread of the disease and controls to remove infection in those herds where it is found and limit further potential for spread. In addition, Defra expects to spend £15 million on TB related research in the current financial year. A breakdown of expenditure since 1999–00 is attached at Annex B with an estimate of expenditure for this year.

Suspension of TB Activities as a Result of FMD 10. In addition to the eVect of the FMD on Government thinking in relation to animal health, the FMD epidemic has had an immediate, practical eVect on the delivery of the TB Programme. Most testing for bovine TB was suspended in late February 2001 in part because visits to livestock premises presented a real risk of transmission of FMD from farm to farm and in part in order to allow resources to be diverted to combating FMD. Routine TB surveillance and testing of herds with TB incidents did not fully restart across Great Britain until January 2002. At the start of 2002 the backlog of TB tests which had built up during the FMD epidemic amounted to some 27,000 herds overdue. The clearance of this rolling backlog of tests has made heavy demands on the State Veterinary Service (SVS) and the private veterinary practitioners, who as local veterinary inspectors (LVIs) carried out most of the routine tests in 2002. At the end of December 2002 the backlog had reduced to just over 9,000.

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11. The diversion of resource to deal with the testing backlog has entailed the delay of a number of initiatives planned around TB test frequencies such as reviews of the frequencies used for 2000, 2001 and 2002, increases in certain low incidence parishes in response to isolated outbreaks and more even annual distribution of herd test dates in parishes on four, three and two yearly test frequencies. 12. Field based research activities, including the surveying and trapping of badgers required for the badger culling trial, were also suspended from late February 2001 until the end of the year. This suspension has aVected both the delivery of the research programme and the resources available for new projects as additional funds were required in 2002–03 in order to recover the time lost on existing projects. 13. The diversion of staV engaged on policy development from TB to duties related to the FMD epidemic during 2001, together with the engagement on clearance of the backlog of tests of veterinary staV who would normally be responsible for implementation of TB policies in the field, has made it diYcult to introduce new measures since the FMD epidemic commenced. A limited package of measures designed to accelerate the clearance of the backlog of tests, to ameliorate the economic eVects of movement restrictions and to pilot possible alternative controls which might accelerate the clearance of TB from aVected farms was announced on 9 October 2002. Further measures are under consideration, but the resources to implement such measures in the field will only be released when the backlog of tests is eliminated. 14. A number of areas of work identified in the Government reply to the Follow Up Report of the Agriculture Committee have not been taken forward either because of the diversion of resources to dealing with FMD or because the recommendations of the Agriculture Committee will now be dealt with in a diVerent way. These are described in detail in Annex A. 15. In the interim, the Government has continued to carry forward the five point plan for dealing with bovine TB announced in August 1998. The five points are: — improved liaison with the Department of Health to monitor the incidence of Mycobacterium bovis infection in humans; — research to develop an M. bovis TB vaccine; — other research to improve knowledge of the disease and its transmission to and between cattle and other species; — continued regular testing of cattle herds for TB and slaughter of suspect animals, and where possible strengthening of these controls; — a badger culling trial to test the eVectiveness of badger culling in reducing TB in cattle. Progress under each of the five points of the TB plan is set out in more detail below.

Protecting human health—improved liaison with the Department of Health to monitor the incidence of M. bovis infection in humans 16. Normal levels of milk and meat hygiene controls continued to be applied during the suspension of TB testing. The incidence of bovine TB in people remains low and stable, at around 45 new bacteriologically confirmed cases a year. About 1% of all bacteriologically proven cases of TB in humans can be attributed to M. bovis infection and most of those are likely to follow re-activation of latent infection contracted prior to the introduction of milk pasteurisation or recent infection contracted abroad. The geographical distribution of cases does not seem to mirror the spread of bovine TB in cattle. The situation continues to be monitored by Defra, DH and the FSA in the forum of the United Kingdom Zoonoses Group (which has taken responsibility for inter-Departmental co-ordination on questions relating to bovine TB from the MAFF/DH Group on M. bovis in animals and man). 17. With the current backlog of tests and the increasing risk arising from the spread of TB through the cattle population, the procedures designed to protect public health have been improved. The main public health risk from TB would come from unpasteurised milk sold by a retailer of raw cows’ milk (including for use in raw milk products) with undiagnosed disease in the herd, though generally M. bovis will be present in the milk of aVected animals only in the advanced stages of development of the disease. Where a test is overdue it is essential that pasteurisation of all milk takes place and, in order to achieve this, that the local health authorities be advised when a herd test becomes overdue. Measures have been put in place to update Animal Health OYce records of producer retailers regularly with information supplied by the Dairy Hygiene Inspectorate so as to be able to ensure that such herds are tested annually. Similar measures are being applied to farmers who pasteurise their own milk as failures in pasteurisation equipment pose a similar risk. 18. Information on the risk assessments carried out on meat by the ACMSF and on milk by the FSA and research on the presence of the M. bovis organism in the edible parts of carcasses are included in Annex A.

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Research to Develop an M. Bovis TB Vaccine 19. The DEFRA TB vaccine development programme consists of several linked projects located at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and the Institute for Animal Health (IAH). The long term aim is to develop a cattle vaccine and/or (depending on the outcome of the badger culling field trial) to develop a badger vaccine. In addition, a number of the projects are aimed at development of a diVerential diagnostic test that will distinguish between infected and vaccinated animals and development of a blood-based immunological test for badgers. 20. The objectives of the programme are: — to generate, select and produce candidate vaccines for cattle and badgers; — to develop immunological reagents which will lead to a diagnostic test for use in living badgers; — to use small animal models to screen candidate vaccines for protection against M. bovis and look at the safety and immunogenicity of vaccines; — to develop challenge models in cattle and badgers (in conjunction with colleagues in the Republic of Ireland) and to use them to test those vaccines which show promise in the small animal screens; and — to develop and refine novel reagents and tests for the diagnosis and control of TB. 21. A number of approaches to vaccine development are being investigated, including BCG (the “gold standard”), live attenuated vaccines (strains of M. bovis where a sequence deletion prevents the bacterium from causing disease, but still allows it to raise an immune response), killed whole mycobacterial vaccines, subunit (proteins, peptides or DNA) vaccines and heterologous prime-boost strategies. 22. 2002 has seen the completion of the genome sequence of M. bovis in a collaborative project between the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Institut Pasteur (France) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (UK). This scientific breakthrough was announced on 1 March 2002. This will provide an invaluable research tool which will have a major impact on our understanding of pathogenicity, evolution and epidemiology of mycobacterial infection. One way in which this will help the vaccine development programme will be to aid the development of a diVerential diagnostic test for the diagnosis of M. bovis, required in order to distinguish between infected and vaccinated cattle. One approach has been to examine the deletions in M. bovis BCG and develop candidates for a test for components of M. bovis that are not contained in M. bovis BCG, M. avium, or M. paratuberculosis. VLA are also using antigen mining to develop pools or cocktails of antigens with the potential for vaccine development. 23. Further aims of the projects to develop diagnostic strategies for the detection of M. bovis in badgers and cattle are: — to understand and characterise the underlying processes involved in M. bovis infection on immunity and disease; — to determine the eVect of environmental mycobacteria on the immune response to M. bovis; — to investigate the induction of immunity by vaccination; and to develop assays for the detection; and — to develop assays for the detection and quantification of M. bovis in animal tissues and excretions. 24. Several aspects of this work have the potential to impact on other aspects of the Defra TB research programme. For example, studies on immune responses of cattle and badgers to M. bovis could underpin studies on transmission and the natural history of the disease. 25. A sub-group of the ISG on cattle TB has been established with a remit to “assist the ISG in advising DEFRA Ministers on the feasibility for pursuing a TB vaccination strategy for either cattle or wildlife. This should also include consideration of future research requirements in addition to those already in place”. The sub-group is expected to report in March 2003.

Other research to improve knowledge of the disease and its transmission to and between cattle and other species 26. A new programme to investigate, both experimentally and in the field, the pathogenesis of M. bovis in cattle has been developed. The work is being carried out at IAH, VLA and Queens University, Belfast. The investigators are using an experimental infection model of cattle to address issues regarding the kinetics and mechanisms of M. bovis transmission and the relationship between transmission and immunological responsiveness. These issues are of fundamental importance for the development of eVective vaccination strategies, and to investigate novel diagnostics. The field studies involve detailed immunopathological examination of naturally infected cattle, in order to further understand the progress of the disease and evaluate current and novel diagnostic tests. 27. The development of new methods of TB diagnosis is closely integrated into the vaccine research programme, because (i) diagnosis of TB will be an important parameter in measuring vaccine eYcacy, and (ii) new vaccine technologies may compromise existing diagnostic techniques.

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28. The use of a commercial blood test, the gamma interferon ((IFN) test for cattle with improved defined M. bovis specific antigens is being investigated. 29. Although in general the eVect of FMD on the research programme has been negative, it has presented a unique opportunity to study factors aVecting incidence of new cases of bovine TB in herds restocked since the FMD out-break. A new field study has recently started. 30. Two projects looking at potential wildlife reservoirs of bovine TB other than badgers are in progress at Central Science Laboratory and Oxford University. 31. Epidemiological studies of TB in the badger are being carried out at several field sites and ecological studies include novel methods of measuring badger density and the perturbation eVects of culling. Previous and new data from the TB research programme is being used in several mathematical modelling projects and a satellite imagery project to predict the pattern of disease and the eVect of control policies. Novel molecular typing methods to diVerentiate strains of M. bovis are being used in an integrated collaborative epidemiological study aimed at elucidating the spread of disease in cattle and wildlife over time. Continued regular testing of cattle herds for TB and slaughter of suspect animals, and where possible strengthening of these controls 32. Following the suspension of testing during the FMD epidemic for disease control reasons, at the end of January 2002 there was a backlog of some 27,000 overdue bovine TB herds tests. Approximately one quarter of cattle herds in GB were aVected, and many of these tests were more than a year overdue. When testing was restarted it was targeted to those herds which a veterinary risk assessment had identified as presenting the greatest risk to human health, such as herds producing raw milk for direct consumption or for use in raw milk products and those herds which had the greatest risk of infection with bovine TB. By the end of December 2002 the backlog had been reduced to just over 9,000 overdue tests. This reduction has required a significantly raised eVort from both the SVS and LVIs. 33. Confirmation of disease in animals that react to the TB test dictates how the incident is further managed. Unconfirmed breakdowns are not as strictly controlled as those which are confirmed, where the herd must undergo two short interval (60 day) tests in order to have movement restrictions removed. Confirmation of disease is by detection of typical lesions of tuberculosis on post-mortem examination and/ or by culture of M. bovis in tissue specimens, which usually takes about six weeks. Increased numbers of post mortem samples submitted to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in 2002 from the higher numbers of animals involved in TB incidents has led to a shortfall in the capacity of the laboratory to culture and confirm M. bovis in samples submitted by the SVS. This has led to delays in confirmation of disease status in tuberculin test reactors with no visible lesions (NVL) on post mortem examination. In some herds with NVL reactors only, this has resulted in extended movement restrictions. 34. This problem is being addressed through increasing laboratory capacity and taking a risk based approach to the need for maintaining restrictions in certain circumstances. Ways of streamlining and automating certain parts of the culture process and novel methods of confirmation are being investigated. A reduction in the volume of samples going for analysis has been brought about by reducing the volume of samples going from herds with reactor animals and visible lesions on slaughter, with a concomitant lessening of overall epidemiological data that would otherwise have been available. A badger culling trial to test the eVectiveness of badger culling in reducing TB in cattle 35. Initial proactive culls have been completed in all 10 triplets which are now operative. Following FMD, Defra’s Wildlife Unit (WLU) met the programme for resuming trial operations agreed with ISG. 36. Badger culling fieldwork was suspended from 23 February to 31 December 2001 due to foot and mouth disease. The majority of staV of the Wildlife Unit (WLU) who carry out the field work of the badger culling trial were redeployed to assist in FMD control measures. Surveying operations re-commenced in January 2002 and included intensive surveys of the final three triplets. In order to deal rapidly with the backlog of work, contractors were employed to undertake 3-year surveys in a further three established triplets. 37. On 29 April 2002, Ministers announced that trapping operations would recommence on 1 May (ie after the closed season from 1 February to 30 April). Since that announcement, proactive follow-up culls have been undertaken in seven triplets. Reactive culling was also carried out in 2002 and the initial proactive culls in the final three triplets were completed. 38. In March 2002 the ISG submitted a report to Defra on the eVects of FMD on the field trial. This report was forwarded to the Committee via Deirdre Kennedy’s letter of 12 June 2002 to Gavin Devine. The ISG is currently updating this assessment and is expected to report to Defra Ministers in March. It is expected that particular attention will be paid to reviewing the implementation of the reactive strategy given the large numbers of TB breakdowns following FMD.

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Statistics on Bovine TB 39. Before the FMD epidemic, statistics on TB were published monthly on the Defra website. The monthly statistics on herds and animals tested under the testing programmes and control measures met the quality criteria for “national statistics”. However, the atypical testing patterns seen between late February and early December 2001 and the subsequent biases introduced by the targeting of testing to high risk herds in the drive to reduce the backlog has produced figures that are not yet of a suYcient quality to regain that status. It is hoped that Defra statistics on TB will once again be able to meet the quality criteria for “national statistics” in summer 2003 when the TB testing backlog has been cleared. 40. National statistics are, by their nature, published sometime after events to allow for quality controls. Defra statistics on TB therefore usually reflect the situation three to four months before the date of publication. In the aftermath of FMD there was a pressing need for more immediate information on progress with reducing the backlog and on the greater numbers of TB incidents being found on resumption of targeted testing. In response to industry and stakeholder requests, Defra has shared with TB Forum members monthly summaries of raw data from the SVS work management computer system (VetNet). The data held on this system is also used as the raw data for TB statistics, but it is by nature of a lower order of reliability than national statistics. The description of the latest situation set out below is based on information taken directly from VetNet. It should be recognised that there are some limitations to the accuracy of this data. As further information is entered on the VetNet system and data quality checks are carried out over the next few months these figures are likely to change. However, they give a broad indications of trends. 41. VetNet data for the period January to December 2002 show that of some 100,000 herds in Great Britain just over 43,500 herds were tested. During the same period, just over 4,000 herds were under movement restrictions at some time. Of these just under 3,200 herds suVered a new TB incident in 2002, of which just under 1,700 have so far been confirmed (although the number of confirmed breakdowns will rise as the results from post mortem cultures come through). During 2002, some 19,500 cattle were slaughtered with compensation.

The Effect of the FMD Epidemic on the Incidence of Bovine TB 42. During the 10 years before the FMD epidemic, the number of TB breakdowns had been rising by approximately 20% each year. There has been a further significant increase in the numbers of herds and the numbers of individual animals aVected with cattle TB during 2002 when compared with 2000. Comparisons with 2001 are not informative because of the suspension of testing during the FMD epidemic. 43. In order to draw any conclusions on the validity of a comparison between the full year of testing carried out in 2000 and 2002, account must be taken of the additional testing carried out during 2002 in order to deal with the backlog of tests which had built up during the FMD epidemic. Raw data show that during 2002 a total of 43,567 herds were tested compared with 35,610 during 2000. However it is clear that the numbers of incidents have not fallen and that, in those herds where there are TB incidents, more cattle that react to the TB test are being found, suggesting an increase in within herd spread. It is likely that delays in the detection and removal of reactors have contributed significantly to this. 44. Out of around 1,870 herds reformed after FMD culling and tested for bovine TB by the end of August 2002, some 105 have had TB incidents, both confirmed and unconfirmed. This represents about 6% of reformed herds tested by that date. Early in 2002 movement restrictions were placed on 866 herds with overdue 6 and 12 month tests as a veterinary risk assessment had shown these to be at particular risk of infection with TB. By the end of August 2002 27% of those herds tested had been found to have cattle that reacted to the skin test. 45. Statisticians within Defra and the ISG advise that until the distortion introduced by the testing backlog is reduced further it is too early to try to draw any conclusions, particularly about whether or not there has been a step change in the rate of increase in the number of herd incidents. It is unlikely that an assessment can be made until the middle of 2003. 46. A table setting out key raw data for the years 2002 and 2000 is attached at Annex C. 10 February 2003

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Annex A

Update on specific Government undertakings in its response of 4 April 2001 to the First Report The Scientific Basis of the Trial Committee recommendation We believe that a more positive approach from the ISG towards constructive criticism of their analysis would be helpful, whether this consists of undertaking analysis to convince this Committee or of involving in their work other academics who have serious concerns about the scientific basis of the trial.

Government response MAFF has consulted the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) on the Committee’s comments on the scientific basis of the badger culling trial. The ISG welcomes the Committee’s support for the trial and its recognition that it is the only feasible way of obtaining information essential to establish the relationship between bovine TB and badgers and whether culling is a viable policy option. The Group welcomes constructive dialogue with any organisation or individual with an interest in any aspect of its work, which ranges beyond the badger culling trial, focusing as it does on gaining a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease in both cattle and wildlife. The ISG has worked with the independent statistical auditor, Professor Mollison, and noted with satisfaction his endorsement of its approach and of the statistical design of the trial. It will continue to work closely with Professor Mollison throughout the course of the trial as the Committee had previously recommended and invites Dr Matthews and others to discuss in detail any concerns over the trial and other parts of its recommended research programme.

Update on Government response The field operations and laboratory procedures undertaken by the WLU and VLA are subject to internal audit procedures and scrutiny by ISG members. In addition a number of procedures are subject to external accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. To stimulate objective debate and ensure the scientific validity of the trial the ISG recommended in its first report a series of independent audits. The following is a summary of the present position in relation to the independent audits associated with the ISG’s work: — a report on the humaneness of trial despatch procedures was published in October 2000. A new auditor was appointed in August 2000 but only a limited amount of work was possible before the intervention of FMD. The audit recommenced with the restart of trapping in May 2002 and the resulting report will be published together with Defra’s response later this year. — a report on surveying and social group territory delineation audits was published in January 2001. An audit of the eYciency of trapping planned for the same time was delayed firstly by security concerns and then by the suspension of field activities during the FMD epidemic. The report is expected to be published later this year. A further surveying audit commenced in August 2002 and its findings will be published in due course. — a statistical audit of the trial design has been completed and the report was published in November 2000. The auditor has been re-appointed with adjusted terms of reference to consider the eVects of the FMD epidemic on the trial; — audit of the trial’s post mortem examination procedures is expected to commence shortly and findings will be published; — negotiations for the audit of TB99 are nearing completion and findings will be published. Following the Committee’s recommendation, Dr Mathews gave a presentation to the ISG setting out her concerns about the trial. The Group has pursued its strategy of presenting its work at public meetings. During the past two years 17 have taken place including presentations to the AGM of the National Federation of Badger Groups and other welfare groups. A full list of meetings will be included in the ISG’s fourth report later this year. Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser is discussing with the ISG what arrangements might be put in place to carry out a full review of the badger culling trial this year.

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Implementation of the Trial Committee recommendation The Committee also noted the concern raised by the absence of a trial area in Wales despite the high incidence of bovine TB in Wales. We reiterate our support for the trial as the only feasible way of obtaining the information essential to establishing the relationship between bovine TB in cattle and badgers and whether culling is a viable policy option, and reaYrm our belief that it is in the wider interests of the farming community, as well as in the long-term interests of conservation and animal welfare organisations, to co-operate fully with the trial. There are lessons to be learnt from the slow implementation of the trial but nothing to be gained from abandoning it, before it has had time to achieve robust results. Government response The Government welcomes the Committee’s continued support for the TB research programme. It accepts that there were problems with resources and logistics in the early stages of the trial. As acknowledged in the Committee’s report, these have now been resolved. The ISG has stated that the trial is now on course despite protest activity aimed at MAFF staV and farmers. Initial proactive culling has been carried out in seven of the ten areas, with follow up culls in three. Initial culling will be carried out in the remaining three trial areas during 2001. The ISG has advised that results are likely to be available by the end of 2004 and possibly earlier. The following table shows the number of badgers culled in the trial up to 31 January 2001: Triplet Proactive Area Reactive Area Gloucester/Hereford 55 34 Devon/Cornwall 397 107 East Cornwall 357 178 North Wiltshire 744 — West Cornwall 451 — Devon/Somerset 162 — StaVordshire/Derbyshire 428 — Total 2,594 319 The ISG advised MAFF that there was no compelling scientific need for a trial area to be sited in Wales. The Assembly Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development for the National Assembly for Wales decided that, in the light of that advice, she was content for the trial to proceed on an England only basis. Update on Government response The following table shows the number of badgers culled in the trial up to 14 January 2003: Triplet Proactive Area Reactive Area Gloucester/Hereford 204 34 Devon/Cornwall 446 165 East Cornwall 483 206 East Hereford 293 — North Wiltshire 831 56 West Cornwall 699 62 StaVordshire/Derbyshire 632 149 Devon/Somerset 162 — Gloucestershire 219 — Devon 441 — Total 4,410 672 The Road Traffic Accident Survey Committee recommendation We recommend that MAFF make it a priority to provide suYcient resources to enable the road traYc accident survey to be carried out according to the directions of the ISG. Government response The Government shares the Committee’s regret that the operational demands of the Classical Swine Fever outbreak diverted SVS resources from the road traYc accident survey. This resulted in a later start and a much reduced level of badger carcass collection and post mortem than was originally envisaged. In the first three months of the exercise, 93 carcases have been collected and 77 post-mortem examinations performed.

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SVS resources have now been redirected to support the survey, and the Ministry, together with the ISG, is reviewing survey arrangements in order to improve its coverage and ensure that the sample size required by the ISG is achieved. MAFF will be seeking co-operation of local practice vets and others to ensure the required number of carcases are collected. However, in the short term there is likely to be some impact on resources devoted to the survey due to the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Update on Government response During the FMD outbreak it was not possible to devote resources to the Road TraYc Accident Survey. Furthermore, it became clear in the early part of 2002 that the pressure on the SVS in the wake of FMD was still preventing the identification and collection of badger carcases. Defra has since contracted with the Central Science Laboratory for this service. The numbers of carcases collected are shown in the table below.

RTA Badger Survey—January–December 2002 County RTA Badgers from outside Trial Areas 101 126 196 19 30 38 41 551 RTA badgers from inside Trial Areas 38 5 51 46 1 0 0 141 Non RTA badgers found dead in Trial Areas 11 0 14 8 0 0 0 33 Total

Cornwall Devon Gloucester Hereford Worcester Shropshire Dorset Total

150 131 261 73 31 38 41 725

Reactors in the food chain Committee recommendation We note that the concerns of the HSE at laboratory staV handling possibly infected badger carcases led to part of the delay. We also note that these concerns do not appear to have been reflected in the handling of definitely infected cattle and the passing of meat from these animals into the food chain. The Government should seek advice on the appropriateness of current controls.

Government response The MAFF and Department of Health Liaison Group on M. bovis continues to review the incidence of M. bovis in cattle and humans and to identify issues for the respective departments to take forward. The number of cases of M. bovis in humans remains very low, at about 40 per year, and shows no correlation with the incidence in cattle in terms of geography or occupational group.

Risk from TB infected carcases The Government is seeking advice on the appropriateness of current controls. The Food Standards Agency has asked the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food to review the possible health risks associated with consumption of meat from animals with evidence of Mycobacterium bovis infection, including animals with no post mortem evidence of disease which have reacted positively or inconclusively to the tuberculin test, and to advise on the adequacy of current control measures. The Committee has established a working group and hopes to be in a position to advise the Agency before the summer. The Agency intends to commission a short study (six to nine months) by limited tender to investigate the distribution of M. bovis in the edible tissues of salvaged carcases from cattle that have reacted to the tuberculin test or show evidence of M. bovis infection at post mortem inspection. The study will aim to determine the level of contamination in each of the tissues examined. The study will also review published data on transmission of infection to humans and estimate the likely infectious dose by mouth for humans. The invitations to tender will be sent out in the next few weeks.

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Risk to humans handling TB reactors State Veterinary Service (SVS) veterinary oYcers or oYcial veterinary surgeons and, occasionally, meat hygiene inspectors acting on instructions from the SVS Divisional Veterinary Manager handle cattle being slaughtered under the TB control programme, including sampling of carcases for TB lesions. They are required to follow a range of precautions, such as wearing face masks and protective clothing, and to provide evidence of a BCG vaccination. Cattle presented for slaughter under TB control measures are processed at the end of the slaughter line which is then cleansed and disinfected. The length of time spent by oYcial veterinarians with a possible source of M. bovis infection is limited and unlikely to be repeated every day. The precautions prescribed for such staV are proportionate to the potential exposure and in line with Health and Safety Executive Guidance. This position is distinct from that of staV working in laboratory facilities dedicated to examining carcases for indications of M. bovis, sampling them and culturing the organism from those samples. They would normally be in contact with possible sources of M. bovis for much longer periods and on a more regular daily basis. Slaughterers and slaughterhouse staV do not carry out the sampling of carcases for TB lesions and so are not subject to the same close exposure to potential infection as veterinarians. However, they will be exposed to a degree of potential infection in the course of their normal work killing and preparing carcases. Slaughterhouse staV are therefore advised to adopt similar precautions to SVS staV. MAFF issued guidance on this to all red meat slaughterhouse owners in England in October 2000. This joint guidance between MAFF, the Department of Health, FSA and the Health and Safety Executive informs slaughterhouse owners of the precautions taken by SVS staV and advises them to consider similar measures in relation to their own staV. A copy of this guidance is at Annex C. Update on government response The Report of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) on the possible risks to consumers of meat from cattle with evidence of M. bovis infection was published by the FSA in January 2002. Though the ACMSF found this risk to be very low it recommended certain changes to meat hygiene inspection procedures of tuberculin test reactors. The Food Standards Agency has accepted and acted upon the ACMSF recommendations. In early 2002 the FSA carried out an internal review of the adequacy of milk hygiene controls given the rise in dairy herds with unknown TB status following FMD disruption. It concluded that current controls were eVective in reducing risk. The FSA research project looking into whether M. bovis is present in the edible parts of cattle carcases is expected to be completed this year and report in the summer. Husbandry Committee recommendation We recommend a more detailed study to run alongside the work of the ISG. Government response Since publication of the Committee’s report, the Government has published its response to the independent Husbandry Panel report (MAFF news release 16/01 of 18 January 2001). This sets out the measures the Government proposes to take forward on husbandry. MAFF is commissioning further research into the extent of badger visitation of farm buildings and food stores and survival of M. bovis in slurry. A contract let with a market research company in February to assess how eVective the 1999 MAFF advisory leaflets “TB in Cattle Reducing the Risk” and “Farm Biosecurity Protecting Herd Health” as well as identifying better ways of providing farmers with advice on husbandry has been postponed, in view of the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Once we are in a position to move forward with the research it will take about two months to complete and results will be published on the MAFF TB website. The market research will be used as a basis for a revised strategy on encouraging farmers to adopt better husbandry practices to minimise TB risk. The Government has also decided to undertake a pilot project in one county to test the feasibility of categorising farms according to their TB risk status for husbandry purposes. This will be based on ideas put forward in the British Cattle Veterinary Association’s “Herd Health Strategy” paper. Update on Government Response Research on badger visitation of farms was completed and published as a Royal Society peer reviewed paper this summer. Research into badger/cattle interactions and badger visitation of farm buildings has been commissioned at the Central Science Laboratories. Work on the survival of M. bovis in slurry is being carried out in the Republic of Ireland.

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Some areas of work identified in the Government’s reply to the Follow Up Report have not been taken forward in the wake of the FMD epidemic because it is now recognised that they need to be delivered in a very diVerent way. The development of a new strategic approach to animal health and welfare issues will address questions surrounding the relationship between Government, veterinary professionals and the livestock industry, including many areas (communications, education and training, improving skills) which will aVect the delivery of advice based on the latest scientific research, including biosecurity. In response to the recommendations of the inquiries into the FMD epidemic, Defra is proposing to consider: — practical options for how biosecurity can be improved on farm; — mechanisms for getting the message across, in close co-operation with stakeholders; — identification of incentives, financial or other, for improved biosecurity; — how to encourage extended biosecurity standards through assurance schemes, herd health plans and veterinary advice. Because of the need to take forward the improvement of biosecurity across the piece, Defra has not placed a contract with a commercial company to look at the reasons for low farmer uptake of the biosecurity messages in TB specific literature. However, it is considered that a reduced risk from TB will be delivered by the more broadly based, strategic approach. The pilot study on categorising farms according to TB risk has not been implemented because, in the aftermath of the FMD epidemic, priority for the State Veterinary Service has been re-establishing the disease status of herds that had missed their routine tests. It remains an option which may be taken up once the backlog of missed tests has been cleared in summer 2003.

TB99 questionnaire Committee recommendation We recommend that MAFF make an absolute commitment to its implementation as a priority.

Government response The Government is fully committed to continuing its epidemiological questionnaire (TB99) and its database is expanding steadily; by 17 January 2001 the database contained 1,770 reports. The data for incidents which occurred outside the culling trial during the second half of the year 2000 is incomplete on account of the diversion of SVS staV to emergency swine fever duties; however the data for incidents within the culling trial areas will be complete for the whole year. The TB99 case and control questionnaires have been revised in the light of recommendations received and the new forms are being used for all cases from 1 January 2001. The TB99 data has been submitted to the ISG for analysis. The Government will endeavour to keep the impact of the recent foot and mouth disease outbreak on the level of resources devoted to TB99 to a minimum.

Update on Government response It became clear in the early part of 2002 that the pressure on the SVS in the wake of the epidemic of FMD was preventing the completion of TB99 questionnaires, particularly on control farms. With the agreement of the ISG, Defra has since contracted with ADAS for a small part of this service to relieve pressure. They are now working alongside the SVS in the collection of data. The numbers of questionnaires completed is shown in the following table. Reports Case reports outside trial areas Case reports inside trial areas Control reports Total TB99 Reports completed 2002TB99 Reports completed (running total to 31 December 2002) 395 256 9 660 2,010 537 171 2,718

However, the ISG have advised that it does not have suYcient data from the trial areas to undertake a preliminary analysis of the TB99 study before March.

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TB Forum (cattle testing) Committee recommendation We would suggest that the increased incidence of herd breakdown and the lack of prospect of any new direction until the trial is complete requires further action. An increase in the frequency of tests and a requirement to produce test data on sale both appear prudent. We are also disappointed that progress has not been more rapid towards the development of a more accurate test and hope that work will be pressed forward in this area. Government response The Government accepts the need to increase the frequency of herd tests in response to new incidents of the disease. This happens all the time at local level where new herd breakdowns trigger both immediate testing of contiguous herds and in many cases (depending on local circumstances) will result in the whole of the parish in question being put on more frequent testing. In addition, the 2000 annual review of parish testing frequencies is close to completion. This involves assessing testing frequencies across the country in the light of new TB incidents, taking into account epidemiological criteria, for example by creating buVer zones of more frequent testing areas around those which have had a herd breakdown. This review is likely to result in an increase in testing frequencies in some 400 parishes, which will be implemented during 2001. Since publication of the Committee’s Report, the Government has also announced that it is planning to bring forward a number of routine herd tests in those parishes currently on two, three, and four yearly testing, so as to ensure that a proportion of the herds in all such parishes are tested each year (MAFF news release 16/01 of 18 January 2001). This will be implemented over the coming year and will result in a significant increase in testing as a proportion of herds will be tested at a shorter interval than the normal frequency for the parish in question. Both the annual review and this initiative to spread tests more evenly in those areas not on annual testing will help increase the eVectiveness of disease monitoring. In December 2000 a new facility was introduced to enable farmers to request a copy of their most recent herd test certificate (form TB52) which they can then make available to potential buyers of cattle to demonstrate the date of their last herd test. The Government is not convinced that making production of proof of testing at sale compulsory would achieve suYcient benefits to justify the administrative burden on the industry. It should be borne in mind that the fact that a clear herd test has taken place does not represent a guarantee in relation to individual animals, as a herd test does not include animals under six months of age at the time of testing. Where farmers are buying stock from areas with a high incidence of TB, especially if the animals are intended for breeding, the Government already advises farmers to consider undertaking private ¨ premovement testing. However, the Government will keep this area under review. Improvements to the diagnostic test are an important part of MAFF’s research programme. A feasibility study into the use of the gamma interferon blood test, alongside the tuberculin skin test, has been underway since October 2000 (MAFF news release 367/00 of 18 October 2000). The purpose of this study is to provide information on the logistics and cost of carrying out the blood test in normal field conditions in Great Britain. The herds involved have undergone initial blood testing and the study is expected to be complete by July 2001. In addition, other elements of the Government’s TB research programme, such as work on the immunological response of cattle to M. bovis, the cattle pathogenesis studies and the development of novel diagnostic antigens, will contribute to improving the accuracy of current testing methods. Update on Government response The prioritisation of SVS and LVI resources to clear the backlog of overdue TB tests has meant that the resource has not been available to develop mechanisms for staggered testing across parishes on lower test frequencies nor deliver increased routine testing in certain areas. Divisional Veterinary Managers have been keeping parish test frequencies under review during the clearance of the backlog and have stepped up test frequencies where they have thought it prudent. The Agriculture Committee’s recommendation that the frequency of testing should be increased and testing regimes re-assessed remains. This will be included in the examination of policies which might be introduced once the backlog of TB testing has been cleared in the summer of 2003. Despite the increased awareness of biosecurity during the FMD epidemic and the provision of three advisory leaflets on biosecurity to all farmers (two in the Autumn of 2001 and one in early 2002), indications are that buyers still do not take suYcient account of animal disease when sourcing cattle or make full use of the facility available for sellers to disclose to buyers the results of the latest herd TB test. This issue is clearly one which will have to be addressed in the development of a strategic approach to animal health and welfare, and, in particular, in Defra’s consideration of biosecurity outlined above. Nonetheless, full account will be taken of the need to reduce the risk of transmission of TB between farms through the purchase of cattle with an unknown herd test history in the consideration of measures which might be introduced when the backlog of overdue tests is eliminated.

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In the Follow Up Report the Agriculture Committee recommended that farmers be required to produce test data to accompany animals being oVered for sale. Defra has encouraged buyers to ask vendors of cattle for a copy of the latest test result and has made it possible for vendors to request this information from their local animal health oYce. Defra has also encouraged buyers to check that that the herd they are buying from does not have an overdue TB test. Indications are that, although a number do now seek supporting documentation, many farmers do not conduct even these minimal checks on the animals they buy in. A number of practical considerations must be taken into account when deciding whether the disclosure of TB test data at the time of sale should be made compulsory. None of the TB tests recognised at EU level are suYciently sensitive to guarantee freedom from infection for individual animals. The available tests are more suited for use on a herd rather than on individual animals. Data from the most recent herd test may be of limited value as it might be up to four years old, and would not reveal infected cattle introduced into the herd after the test was carried out. Nonetheless, Defra does recognise the need to reduce the risk of transmission of disease through the movement of infected cattle, and will be considering what steps might be taken to eVectively reduce this risk when it considers what measures should be introduced when the backlog of overdue tests is completed. Defra is continuing to fund research which might lead to the development of new tests in its pursuit of the five point plan, as set out in the body of this memorandum, including ongoing work on pathogenesis, diagnostic and immunological studies in cattle and post genomic studies on the recently completed sequence of M. bovis which will help to develop more specific antigens for use in diagnostic tests. However, it would be unrealistic to base policy decisions on the premise that there is likely to be a major breakthrough in this diYcult area in the short, or even medium, term. Defra is, however, seeking to ensure that the best possible use can be made of the available tests. The feasibility and modelling study of the γIFN blood test revealed that it may detect some animals which are initially negative to the tuberculin skin test and result in movement restrictions being lifted earlier. However it is expensive and significant logistical problems were encountered in the feasibility study. Nonetheless, in November 2002 Defra and the Welsh Assembly announced a pilot study of the use of a commercially available γIFN test as an adjunct to the skin test in certain herds with suspected persistent or widespread infection with bovine TB. The pilot will also will look at the usefulness of revised interpretations of the skin test comparing the use of gamma interferon with diVerent levels of interpretation of the current skin test to see whether that has an eVect on the shortening the length of time a herd is under movement restrictions. In practice this will mean that some animals in herds subject to the latter treatments formerly classed as inconclusive reactors will be slaughtered as reactor animals. The aim is to recruit approximately 660 herds with new TB incidents across Wales and selected counties in England (Cheshire, StaVordshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire). The ISG have asked that the pilot study should not be carried out in Randomised Badger Culling Trial areas. The ISG has also recommended that the opportunity be taken to gather more scientific data. Defra oYcials are discussing this with the ISG. The estimated cost of the trial to Government is £1.8 million over two years with the bulk of the cost going on additional compensation for animals slaughtered.

Future policy Committee recommendation We believe that Ministers have to recognise that this might mean deciding to extend the trial beyond the end date or beyond its current scope or it might mean finding some Plan B, which does not seem to be in development at the moment. It is the responsibility of Ministers, not of the ISG, to make the ultimate decisions and we believe that this process must be put in train now and not delayed until the crisis of no clear results from such an expensive and controversial programme is upon us.

Government response The Government agrees with the Committee’s conclusion that, with the TB research programme well underway and due to deliver results in two to three years, now is the time to start developing possible future policy options. It shares the Committee’s concern that given the continued increase in TB in cattle, there should be no delay in moving to implement new policies when appropriate. The Government agrees that Ministers have the responsibility for decisions on policy in relation to TB. This should be on the basis of the best possible scientific advice. The Government is grateful to the ISG for its role in devoting much time and eVort in producing high quality advice in relation to the trials. MAFF is also, as part of its response to the Phillips Inquiry report, reviewing all the arrangements for the provision of scientific advice across the Ministry’s work.

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The Government is minded to develop a range of policy options. If appropriate these might be tested out possibly on a “pilot” basis in areas outside the present trials, in order to gain experience that would help Ministers reach an eventual decision on a national TB policy. The details of any pilot project would need to be fully explored before it was undertaken. In addition, the Government wants to see if its work on TB vaccines can be accelerated. In collaboration with the ISG, MAFF plans to undertake scoping studies on TB vaccination of cattle and badgers, to provide a structured analysis of the public health, regulatory and safety issues as well as an assessment of the resource input necessary to develop an eVective vaccine for use in the field. This work will complement the existing vaccine development programme. We will also closely examine recent developments in the Irish Republic on badger vaccines. The Government is determined to do all that it can to contain the spread of bovine TB while scientific studies are in progress, and recognises that it may not be appropriate to wait until perfect scientific evidence is available before taking additional measures. The Government is keeping the situation under close review, and will not hesitate to take action if further measures are judged to be warranted.

Update on Government Response Because of the eVort currently being devoted to recovery from the suspension of testing following the FMD epidemic, it has only been possible to introduce a very limited pilot of policy options. In response to pressing requests from industry, in October and November 2002 Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government announced the introduction of new rules for moving cattle oV and onto premises under restriction based on the findings of veterinary risk assessments. This policy pilot will test whether such measures do in fact reduce financial pressures on farmers under TB restrictions without an unacceptable increase in the risk of disease spread. The new rules on movements oV came into eVect in November and permit three types of movement oV restricted premises: — movement to slaughter via a collection centre; — movement to slaughter via a dedicated slaughter market; — movement to slaughter via a movement restricted finishing unit. Given that the new rules for movement oV have only been operating for two and a half months it is diYcult to assess whether they have been successful in relieving pressure on certain, mainly beef, farmers caught under TB movement restrictions. The new rules for movements on to herds under restriction are being introduced in February 2003, though some movements on to TB restricted herds are already taking place. They require an assessment of the health status of the herd of origin and of destination with varying levels of control dependent on the degree of risk attached to each. We will see whether they will have their intended eVect and help ameliorate the financial impact of TB movement restrictions on dairy farmers. The SVS are in discussions with private vets to develop a new framework for the delivery of local veterinary inspector duties. As part of the new relationship during 2003 Defra will be consulting on proposals for an Exemption Order to the Veterinary Surgeons Act to allow the use of lay testers. For the future, measures which might be eVective in combating the disease which might be introduced as soon as the backlog of tests is eliminated are being considered. In addition, development of a strategic approach to bovine TB will be taken forward within the overarching Animal Health and Welfare Strategy development process. This includes consultation with stakeholders, and will involve the formulation of a strategic vision and the future administrative and financial framework for delivery.

Annex B Breakdown of Government expenditure on tackling bovine TB in cattle (£m) Outturn 1999–2000 Cattle Testing* Compensation Culling Trial** Other Research 17.6 5.3 4.6 3.8 Outturn 2000–01 13.3 6.6 6.6 5.3 Outturn 2001–02 5.4 9.2 6.0 6.1 Outturn 2002–03 24.1 31.7 6.5 6.2

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Outturn 1999–2000 VLA HQ/Overheads* Totals 2.4 4.5 38.2

Outturn 2000–01 3.5 0.9 36.2

Outturn 2001–02 3.7 0.1 30.5

Outturn 2002–03 3.9 0.8 73.1

* SVS Field staV costs are included in HQ/overheads in 1999–2000, and in cattle testing with eVect from 2000–01. ** Includes staV costs, accomodation and vehicles for the SVS Wildlife Unit. Annex C Raw data on TB incidents in 2002 and 2000 (a) 2002 Total Cattle Herds Total Cattle Herds Tested Cattle Tested Cattle in Herds Tested Total Confirmed TB incidents Total Unconfirmed TB incidents Total Unclassified TB incidents Total TB incidents (Herd Breakdowns) Confirmed New TB incidents (CNIs) Unconfirmed New TB incidents Unclassified New TB incidents Total New TB incidents in Confirmed TB incidents in Unconfirmed TB incidents in Unclassified TB incidents Total Reactors Confirmed Reactors Unconfirmed Reactors Not Sampled Reactors Results Pending Reactors Total Reactors Confirmed Other IRs Unconfirmed Other IRs Not Sampled Other IRs Results Pending Other IRs Total Other IRs Confirmed Slaughterhouse Cases Unconfirmed Slaughterhouse Cases Not Sampled Slaughterhouse Cases Results Pending Slaughterhouse Cases Total Slaughterhouse Cases 99,646 43,567 4,047,242 3,933,010 2,329 1,572 170 4,071 1,676 1,323 167 3,166 16,254 2,652 556 19,462 6,278 9,255 3,118 811 19,462 46 506 100 19 671 110 70 0 199 379 2000 105,714 35,610 3,001,927 3,255,326 1,541 963 7 2,511 1,044 683 7 1,734 6,148 859 25 7,032 3,637 2,628 737 30 7,032 38 210 30 6 284 115 85 0 39 239

Herds under restrictions during the report period (new ! existing ones)

. . . of which are New TB Incidents in 2002

Distribution of slaughtered Reactors, by type of TB incident in which disclosed

Distribution of slaughtered Reactors, by post-mortem result

Distribution of slaughtered Inconclusive Reactors, by post-mortem result

Distribution of slaughterhouse cases by post-mortem result

(a) Provisional raw data, as downloaded from the VetNet TbiC system on 21 January 2003. Figures subject to change as more data become available.

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Examination of Witnesses Mr Elliot Morley, a Member of the House, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr Richard Cawthorne, Deputy Chief Veterinary OYcer and Ms Sue Eades, Head of Animal Disease Control Division, Department for Environment, Food and Rural AVairs, examined. Chairman 160. Apologies for keeping you waiting. This is a fascinating topic and we could have spent another 2 hours with the ISG. There were a few issues that came through as a result of that. Would you like to start by introducing your team? (Mr Morley) It is a pleasure. On my left is Richard Cawthorne, our Deputy Chief Veterinary OYcer, who is very experienced in this particular area. On my right is Sue Eades from our division that deals with this particular problem. 161. We had, as I say, a fascinating session with the ISG. To put it bluntly, they feel that what they are doing is very good and needs to be given its correct importance and also time so that the results can be properly compiled. They were quite critical of Defra in two areas, one the gamma interferon test, where they feel you have somewhat rail-roaded them in terms of the lack of science and the way in which that has been produced. Secondly, there remains some issues about resources and the degree to which although they accept you cannot throw resources at this, because that will necessarily bring forward some of the answers, there are some resource issues. Do you want to take those two issues on? (Mr Morley) Certainly. Can I first say I very much welcome the opportunity to update the Committee with where we are with the whole issue of the Krebs trial and also our strategies for dealing with bovine TB. This is one of our biggest issues that we are facing at the present time in relation to animal health matters. We are devoting a lot of resources to this. We have found additional funding, particularly in relation to the backlog of testing. It is fair to say that the whole programme was seriously derailed as a result of FMD, when we had to shift our staV and our resources to the priority of fighting foot and mouth disease. That left us with a backlog to deal with, which I am glad to say we have made very good progress on, it is down to about 7,500 test cases at the present time. In relation to the suggestions from the ISG—I would also like to put on record that I have a great deal of respect and every confidence in Professor Bourne and his team, they are a very important element in relation to the whole issue of finding the most workable solution for the problem of bovine TB—of course the gamma interferon test, which we are committed to and which we are implementing in relation to the pilot areas, the proposals from the ISG are very resource intensive. It also raises one or two ethical issues, such as suggestions in relation to testing for cattle and whether they should be reported or not, that we do need to address. The final proposals, as I understand it, from the ISG in relation to the gamma interferon test did not come through until the week before last. It is not as if we have been sitting on this for a long time, it was only very recently that their final suggestions in relation to the detail have been put to us, and we are considering that. As you will appreciate in relation to trying to get the best results in this trial the ISG have given us very, very sophisticated suggestions in relation to how it should be assessed. It may be that we can find similar evaluation without such a resource intensive way or a more cost-eVective way. I do not think it unreasonable that we examine that. In the end the ISG proposals may be the best way forward, we do not rule those out. I do not want to get away from the fact that it is quite resource intensive in relation to what we have to do and would make demands upon our resources, which we have already committed in such things as reducing the backlog, for example. There is a resource issue for us to consider. That deals with the gamma interferon. 162. The second point is the resource issue. (Mr Morley) I have put my finger on that. The SVS is a finite resource, even LVIs are a finite resource, it is not even a question of saying we could devote more resources and bring in more LVIs because there is a limit to the number of veterinary resources available. Our SVS are committed to a whole range of very important activities, which I am sure you as a Committee recognise are important, and we cannot, for example, devote 100% of our whole SVS simply on the issue of bovine TB. A balance has to be struck in relation to getting the eVective results from properly scrutinised and eVective scientific analysis of such things, like the new tests, and the available resources that we have and the demands made upon the Department. 163. Can you give us a feel for how many extra vets have been employed in terms of trying to deal with the backlog? (Mr Morley) Most of those vets for dealing with the backlog would be LVIs from the private sector. 164. Do you want to write to us about that? (Mr Morley) We did commit an additional £3 million, as you will be aware, and a lot of that was to pay for bringing in LVIs to try and address it. (Ms Eades) A lot of the additional £3 million was spent on additional administrative resource in the Animal Health OYce. The diYculty with LVIs is there is a limit on the number of practitioners that we use as LVIs who are experienced in large animal work and capable of carrying out TB testing in the field. Increasing the LVI resource is not a short-term measure at all. (Mr Morley) I should have made it clear, one of the problems that we have, and it is back to the point I was making, is there is a limited pool of experienced vets. There has been a decline in large animal practice in the private sector. There is a real shortage of vets which has caused problems in relation to testing the programme. One of the ways that we want to combat this in relation to the submission that you have seen is to have trained technicians to specialise in testing, we would like to see them specialise in a range of tests, but this is an important one in relation to

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[Chairman Cont] bovine TB. That is something that we are discussing with the RCVS. That may be an issue you will want to raise later on.

will, of course, have the opinions of the statisticians on the state of the epidemic at the moment. It is not a short process.

Mr Breed 165. At the NFU AGM the Secretary of State announced the Government was going to undertake a review of the TB strategy. (Mr Morley) That is right. 166. What were the objectives of the review that was going to take place and how far has it gone? (Mr Morley) It is normal that any strategy is periodically reviewed to look at exactly what the work is and to look at the kind of results that we are getting from it and to look at whether or not there are other areas that we ought to be considering in relation to any kind of strategy. Although this specifically focused on the issue of bovine TB, which is a very big issue for us, I do have to make it very clear that some of the claims that is it spiralling out of control, the spread is enormous and there is a huge upturn are really very premature because we do not know the increase in the spread until we have had proper evaluation by statisticians, and that will not be done until sometime in the summer when we are able to analyse the 2002 results. I think for people to claim there has been a sudden and sharp increase is not necessarily correct. I wanted to make that particular point. I should also say that, as you will be aware, we recently launched our Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and that looks at the whole issue of animal health and welfare right across the livestock industry. There are elements within any review of the bovine TB strategy that will fall within that, biosecurity for example, animal movements, a whole range of issues which would be complementary. There is obviously a major review on the whole approach. 167. Was the review of the strategy one that you were going to undertake anyway or was it prompted by an increase in the incidence of bovine TB. Why was this review undertaken now? (Mr Morley) It is not unreasonable that periodically there is a review of any kind of strategy, that is the normal pattern within the Department. It is also following the Phillips Committee guidelines as well, where the Phillips Committee also in relation to the recommendations that they make is that scientific advice is periodically reviewed and is examined.

Mr Jack 169. Before I ask about the autumn package, one question that has been niggling at my mind is, why is it so diYcult to deal with TB in cattle when we seem to have cracked it for human beings? (Mr Morley) I am not sure it is quite as simple as that for human beings. When you think about it with all of the resources internationally which have been devoted to dealing with TB in human beings we still only have the BCG vaccination, nothing has come forward since then. There has been very, very limited progress in relation to combatting human TB and that might explain why it has been so diYcult in relation to the progress in dealing with bovine TB. (Mr Cawthorne) The other thing to bear in mind is that human M.bovis TB in this country is largely derived from infection in cattle through milk and therefore it has been possible to take that source, pasteurise it and kill the TB organisms. What you are dealing with in cattle is a much more complex disease entity where you are basically trying to test the disease and remove the animals which are infected, coupled with a variety of controls. The epidemiology of the disease, indeed the disease itself in cattle, is extremely complex, as you are well aware. The answer to the human question is, we are able to identify the major route by which humans become infected and take action to remove or treat the source. 170. You made some changes in terms of the rules governing animal movements in the October 2002 announcement, and clearly that did not please everybody. In that context how do you balance the need to alleviate the economic and animal welfare problems against the risks of spreading the disease in terms of coming to your policy change? (Mr Morley) I feel the autumn proposals dealt with the issue of trying to minimise the disease spread in the way that centres would be set up and the movement directly to slaughter, for example, or to a holding centre for calves which would be controlled I felt was getting the balance right between minimising the risk but also recognising the very real problems, which we do for those farmers who are locked in by movement restrictions. I have visited a number of farms myself, I have had meetings at farms where it aVected farmers and I know the very real, practical financial consequences of those people under restriction. All of this work on bovine TB is not going to be rapid and I do not think we should try and mislead anyone. This is a debate which has been going on for 20 years or more. I believe we are taking the right action, which is Krebs experiment, which is exploring the link between wildlife and cattle and also the potential role in relation to the epidemiology and spread but also looking at the cattle-to-cattle issue and looking at the vaccine development. I personally feel we are covering all of the areas that we need to cover without trying to be obsessed by any one reason. We have to explore a number of reasons.

Mr Wiggin 168. I question whether you review a policy before you have a chance to analyse statistics on the increase in the number of cases. Surely you would normally review a policy after you analysed the statistics? (Mr Morley) Not necessarily, because this strategy has been running for about five years. We would normally have a review in place on a 5 year period. (Ms Eades) I was going to add, it would take us some time to review this strategy and we do not expect to have a complete review of this strategy in place until the end of the year and by that time we

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[Mr Jack Cont] 171. Mr Cawthorne, you said in answer to my earlier question that this was indeed a very complex subject, given you have made some changes, particularly in the autumn package, are you in any way scientifically analysing the eVect of those changes? (Mr Morley) The changes are more management than scientific. 172. Given the management issues under the area of husbandry are part and parcel of the way that you are looking at strategies to combat the strain of bovine TB here at a time when cattle movements have been associated with the spread of the disease— our previous witnesses gave us a flavour of that—I just wonder if you were monitoring in some way? (Mr Morley) In relation to cattle movement and the spread of the disease I really do not think that there is a very high risk in relation to the autumn movement package because that is very tightly controlled. There is a very severe risk at the moment of the disease being spread by cattle-to-cattle transmission, in fact we have some proposals we put to the TB Forum about how we intend to deal with that. (Ms Eades) I just wanted to say the autumn package relaxed movements of controls on cattle in very circumscribed fashion. Cattle have always been allowed to move out of TB restricted herds direct to slaughter, in fact movement is licensed. The autumn package allowed for movements of animals which have passed the TB test, we have to remember they have just been herd tested and they have a clear test on the individual animal and it is permitted that the movement to slaughter should be via alternative premises, but it is still a movement to slaughter not a movement to another herd. At the same time we announced that we were going to be placing additional movement restrictions on herds which are considered to be high risk herds, that is herds with overdue tests, where the TB status of the herd is uncertain. Although it has been represented as being a relaxation of movement control it was a balanced measure that there were circumstances where the risk is extremely low, and in those cases movement under license will be permitted. There are other movements where the risk is considered to be very high and in that case the controls were tightened. We felt that that was a proper approach. 173. Minister, you mentioned in your previous answer the words “TB Forum”, why was it necessary to set up a separate industry group? (Mr Morley) The industry group are part of the autumn package and really that is to oversee the points I was making about management issues. You have the scientific issues which are quite rightly overseen by the Forum, which is looking at the science and the work and the research and development we are doing. The autumn package is really designed to take some pressure oV farmers who are in restricted areas, as Sue says, in a very careful way, it is a very restricted way and it is to look at the management of that. Mr Jack: Thank you.

Chairman 174. The ISG were a little exercised about the lack of consultation with them prior to the introduction of the autumn package, again Michael has picked up the relationship to the TB Forum, can you just explain what process of consultation happens with both the ISG and the TB Forum over issues which are wider than bovine TB but obviously have an important impact on the eVectiveness of the measures we have been talking about? (Ms Eades) In consultation with the ISG there was a paper describing I think the element of the autumn package which particularly concerned them, the gamma interferon pilot, which they would like to see extended to cover other objectives than the limited objectives which the pilot that is currently in place has. They were consulted I think in June and July before the autumn package was— 175. They said three weeks. (Ms Eades) It was not three weeks before the announcement. The gamma interferon pilot was introduced ultimately in October. They had seen the first draft of protocol for carrying out the gamma interferon pilot either in June or July and they criticised the protocol. which was amended accordingly. The revised protocol, which took account of their original comments, was then shown to them again and we had comments in writing from them that they considered it to be much improved compared to the first version they had seen. That all took place before the announcement of the autumn package, which was in September. Ms Atherton 176. We all know, and it is all pretty depressing the situation on vaccination, and I understand the Chief Veterinary OYcer has started negotiations with international trading partners about allowing vaccination and the changing of the rules. Can you tell us something about that? (Mr Morley) In a broader sense of vaccination policy, is that what you mean? 177. Yes. (Mr Morley) I think what was referred to there was what we were talking about in our discussions generally with bodies like OIE and the European Union, the current rules that apply when you vaccinate animals and the retention periods of the sale of meat and issues like that. I am not sure it is connected with these particular issues. It is to do with the FMD discussions. One of the problems with the whole argument on FMD vaccination was that under the old rules if you vaccinated then you were not allowed to resume trade for 12 months. I am glad to say that has been reduced to six months but there are still issues there in relation to the whole use of vaccines as a general policy. 178. Can you tell us something about the encouragement that the Government may or may not be giving to private companies to develop a vaccine? It has been suggested that could be a possible route for a private company. (Mr Morley) We are happy to encourage private companies but it depends on what that involves. Private companies will develop vaccines if they think

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[Ms Atherton Cont] there is a market for them. Clearly there is a market here, it is a big issue for us in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and also New Zealand. Even for a lot of big pharmaceutical companies that might not be a market that would induce them to devote a great deal of resources to vaccine development, and that is one of the reasons why we are doing a great deal of work ourselves on vaccine development through our own laboratories and also in conjunction with other institutions and other countries. The Genome Project is funded by Defra in collaboration with others. We are also collaborating with the Republic of Ireland on the use of BCG vaccines on wildlife. 179. You would be prepared to talk with private companies about some funding mechanisms if it was to encourage them? (Mr Morley) We are open-minded. I am sure there would be a price to this and we would have to examine what that price would be. (Mr Cawthorne) The starting point is having a candidate vaccine. It is not that the commercial company cannot develop the candidate vaccine it is actually getting to the ground floor and having a vaccine candidate that you know will work if you know what you want it to do. That is a problem which is a global problem, it is not as though it is Defra’s problem or an individual company’s it is identifying a vaccine candidate you think will work. Mr Jack 180. You just said something very interesting, you said with a vaccine it is important to know what you wanted to do. I thought it is blindingly obvious what you want the vaccine to do, which is to stop the spread of the disease. Can you explain to me in lay terms, what are the problems which are currently preventing the development? Is there a scientific diYculty there which has to be overcome before you can develop a vaccine? Are there umpteen diVerent strains of bovine TB and is it a question like the flu of picking the right vaccine for the right strain? What is the barrier? (Mr Cawthorne) I am not an expert in this particular field but I think the answer would be that the immunological reaction to tuberculosis is very, very complex, it changes over a period of time. It is not like FMD where you inoculate the animal with a vaccine, it produces anti-bodies and anti-bodies kill oV the virus end of story. This is a chronic disease which has a very complex immunological reaction and the problem people have encountered is trying to identify something which will produce a solid immunity for this very chronic type of disease. That is the fundamental problem. People have used attenuated vaccines which are live vaccines which do not generate disease, which is basically BCG, and that has had some success, even in the human population. There is a suggestion that it might work in badgers but where it has been tried in cattle I believe it has not been very successful. Types of vaccine can be live vaccine in the sense that they multiply within the body but do not create the disease that you want to. Other vaccines take bits of the organism and if you innoculate them they would generate antibodies and react with the organism and protect the animal against that. The point I made

about, do you know what it wants to do, well this becomes a little more complex. You can have a vaccine which maybe knocks out accretion, you might want that type of protection in a badger, but there again you might want protection against a clinical disease. That is protection against clinical disease but it may not protect against infection, though the immune system may throw it over, for example with foot and mouth disease vaccinated animals can still become infected, albeit the body throws oV the infection very quickly. You need to identify what you are trying to achieve. What you want to do is just protect. The other complex area as far as cattle are concerned is your only means of controlling the disease is to identify an infected animal and remove it. You cannot aVord to have a vaccine which supposedly protects the animal against disease but gives a positive reaction to the tuberculosis test because that is the only means you have. In conjunction with the vaccine you need an additional test which allows you to tell that the response you are picking up in the tuberculin test is a response to the vaccine not a response to the actual infection. These discriminatory tests are used in classical swine fever and usually what you end up is manipulating the organism so that the vaccine contains or does not contain certain proteins which you can measure for when you are testing a live animal and say that, yes, that is a vaccinal response, it is not a live animal response. That is important because the tuberculin test still forms the basis of the international accepted means of underpinning quality standards for cattle in terms of trade. Your starting point becomes a little complex in defining just what you are wanting. (Mr Morley) We have submitted an authorisation pack of vaccine to the Committee which goes through the various steps. This is not based on a genetically modified organism, that brings in additional complications. Chairman: I am sure we will study that in due course. Mr Wiggin 181. What progress are you making on the vaccine that you are actually funding, the actual research you are funding and also the progress on the gamma interferon test? You are conducting the right sort of research it seems but so far we do not know how you are getting on? (Mr Morley) On the gamma interferon I think it is a bit early to say because we are still recruiting people into the pilot test area. 182. It is not going very well, is it? (Mr Morley) The recruitment is a bit slow, that is true. I do not know the reasons why people are reluctant. I think there is a concern about what it might show up on people’s herds and that produces a bit of resistance for people to join in on the trial. On the vaccine the most important breakthrough has been the identification of the genome, that ultimately will be quite helpful in relation to vaccine development. At the moment there is no sign of a breakthrough and it is very diYcult to predict how long it will be, it is certainly going to be measured in years in terms of production of the vaccine. I know

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[Mr Wiggin Cont] that Tim Bennett may have said that as long as he can remember it has always been said 10 years. That applies to me as well, as long as we are debating the whole issue of vaccine it is 10 years, it is always 10 years from whatever the point of time you are in. I think that genome breakthrough is enormously helpful. 183. Will you ever have plans to try the BCG test on cattle, perhaps only in hot spots? (Mr Morley) On cattle? 184. Yes. (Mr Morley) There have been trials in BCG and as Richard said they have not been terribly successful. You also have the problem that if you use BCG on cattle you will get a reaction from the test. What we do not have is a test that can distinguish between a cattle which has been vaccinated and a cattle which has TB. Chairman: Can we go on to TB99 and the RTA survey.

able to do an interim analysis because there would be data we have been collecting which would be completely unevaluated. Mr Wiggin: Thank you very much. Chairman 188. Can we go on to the most controversial part, which is the culling. From what the ISG were saying to us they feel that they have made good progress in catching up on the proactive cull but they are somewhat behind in terms of reactive cull, although they anticipate catching up some time towards the end of next year. From your anticipation how much has this derailed the timetable? (Mr Morley) In relation to the analysis of the timetable that is really one for the Independent Scientific Group, they have given their views, as they have given me their views, and they believe that will only set them back by a matter of months. They have had particular problems with the reactive cull for a variety of reasons, again going back to the foot and mouth and the diversion of our resources. I am pleased to say that turnaround on the reactive is now approximately 60 days. Again we have made very good progress on catching them and getting back on track on all these elements of trial. 189. Do you expect any interim results and would it be helpful to have interim results? (Mr Morley) From talking to Professor Bourne I do not think we would like to produce interim recommendations unless it is felt there is a scientific basis to do so. 190. What about outside the trial areas? We heard earlier about the strategy, to what extent are you actively discussing either timing the potential moratorium and making sure that farmers do not take any action oV their own back or more particularly looking at whether it is working and making farmers at least feel they have some control over what they see as the cause or feature of TB. I know there are farmers in the farming community who think that overwhelmingly badgers cause TB. (Mr Morley) I was disappointed by the current call for a badger cull outside the trial area, I cannot see a shred of evidence to base that on. Obviously we have to look at everything in connection with the spread of TB, and that includes wildlife reservoirs, which includes badgers, and we have to consider the whole idea of the Krebs trial to help us understand what that link is and if the link is there what role badgers play in relation to the spread and epidemiology, and that itself was controversial and diYcult because we have to be responsible about addressing the whole issue of bovine TB and look at all possibilities that we have and continue to support it. I think to start culling badgers outside the trial areas there would have to be very, very clear justification for that. I do not see that justification at the present time. I do not see the scientific case for it. I do not see the practical case for it. In some ways it seems based on folklore and we have to do better than that in relation to combatting disease. I am not afraid, Chairman, to duck from diYcult and potentially unpopular decisions, I have to make a lot of them in my role. 191. We know only too well.

Mr Wiggin 185. On this TB99, why has Defra found it diYcult to ensure that the state veterinary service is properly resourced for the TB99 questionnaire and the Road TraYc Act Survey? (Mr Morley) I think the answer is they are both very time and resource consuming. It is fair to say as part of recovering from FMD it has been diYcult to allocate the resources to those two areas because of demands on our State veterinary service. As you will be aware, Chairman, we have actually put the Road TraYc Survey into the hands of the Central Science Laboratory and that has made big progress. We have also brought in ADAS to speed up TB99. I think you will find that we have made rapid progress very recently in terms of dealing with those issues by bringing in more resources because basically the SVS could not cope. Mr Wiggin: It is quite a complicated form and that is why so few have been filled out. Have you had any discussions with the ISG about the form?

Chairman 186. The NFU were very critical of the form in their evidence. (Mr Morley) The more complex they are the more information you get and the more information you get the more valuable they are I think.

Mr Wiggin 187. As long as you get the information! (Ms Eades) The ISG are hoping to do an interim analysis on the TB99 data when they have suYcient completed forms for analysis, and we hope to be at that stage very soon. One of the things that interim analysis will do is to look again at the design of the form to see if it can be simplified, of course it is always possible they may identify additional questions they want to address. It would be foolish really to try and change the design of the form before we have been

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[Chairman Cont] (Mr Morley) I would need some basis and some evidence to do that. I am not in the game of agreeing to a culling trial outside the trial areas simply because it would be a demonstration to farmers that something was being done or whether or not there was justification for that because in the best case it would be a diversion of resources, time and staV and in the worse case it would simply be a placebo for farmers. I am not prepared to take that kind of action unless there is a case for it. In fact you are going backwards in the sense of going back to a policy which has been in place for over 20 years and has not exactly stopped the spread or the increase of bovine TB, it is not as if you are invited to go back to a policy which was a huge success. Therefore I would really have to have some very strong grounds to do that. As far as I can see those grounds are not there at the present time. 192. What about other wildlife reservoirs? One of the weaknesses of Krebs is, “It is the badgers what’ve done it, let us find out for good and bad how much they have done it”. What about all of the other supposed links, because that is a potential weakness? (Mr Morley) My understanding is that examination is taking place into deer, which are known to be carriers, and also farmyard cats and dogs, although the incidents of infection is extremely rare and the incidents of infection in deer is also very low. They are examined as well. Mr Breed 193. The last time husbandry came before the Agriculture Committee for investigation there was a suggestion there was quite a few husbandry linked projects which were going to take place and going to be started, however then foot and mouth came along and that delayed some and it also gave a diVerent prospective as to how the whole issue of husbandry, biosecurity and everything else was going to be implemented. Can you tell us, how is this message now going to be reinforced? What sort of projects are still valid? How are you going to do that? How is this whole area of husbandry and biosecurity going to be reinforced? (Mr Morley) First of all, it is worth pointing out there have been a number of circulars to farmers about the whole issues of biosecurity and in particular in relation to bovine TB. Secondly, the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, of which I am very glad to say we have had very positive engagement from the livestock industry, is going to address that in a total approach, of which, of course, there is an issue of biosecurity and bovine TB, but there are wider issues of biosecurity, and that is one of a number of issues that we want to address in more detail as part of our Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. The draft principles have been launched and we are currently in the process of consultation on that, with the idea of bringing forward more detailed proposals towards the end of the year. (Ms Eades) I was really going to say we are having an interim Animal Health and Welfare Strategy this summer. The consultation document has clearly identified questions that need to be addressed. Taking forward a partnership approach in tackling animal health and welfare problems is called an animal health

strategy because we recognise that we need to focus on health. There have been times in the past when we have been too wrapped up in the disease issues but the promotion of good health and measures which farmers can take to maintain the health of their herds is something that we are very much aware of and want to improve our performance on, and it would be done in that form. 194. Do you have any real evidence that this broadly based strategy which is going to encompass all sorts of thing is going to bear down very significantly on bovine TB? (Ms Eades) We do have evidence. We are beginning to analyse the results of studies that we have been doing on herds which have been restocked after foot and mouth disease. Foot and mouth disease was a dreadful disease but it has really given us an opportunity to look at the eVect which biosecurity measures have in terms of protecting herds. To be frank, the initial results from that study show, first of all, that biosecurity measures were not taken despite the advice that was provided to farmers. Secondly, they lead us to believe that we really need to do more. If the current means of providing advice to farmers are not meeting the target that is the diYculty that we have. We need to find other ways of getting the message across, that is going to be a very diYcult subject for us to tackle. We need to be a bit more free thinking. Before we have tended to produce just another biosecurity leaflet but that is not the answer to the problem. 195. The fact is that the best of farmers are obviously really geared up to this because they know it is their livelihood which is threatened but there is a tail, I do not know how long big a tail, who do not care a toss about biosecurity. If sanctions will not work maybe incentives will. The whole point about the debate on licensing was that presumably we were going to pay people who do the job well, as indeed happens in any other industry, to make them feel that it is worth their while and presumably we could then deal with this tail in an eVective way so that we do not have these continual threats of animal welfare breakdown or animal health breakdown. What is the view on this now? (Mr Morley) I think that is right, Chairman. It is like any industry, you obviously get good and bad. The majority are people who it is in their interest to have high health standards but there is a minority, who range from poor husbandry to basic illegal activity. It is also a problem that there does seem to be a lack of questioning upon on the health history of cattle in particular which are brought in. That does not really seem to have established itself in the way that we had hoped, particularly given the guidance that we issued from the Department.

Mr Wiggin 196. One of the problems that farmers complain about is they cannot get the cattle tested. In an ideal world every time you bought a cow or any sort of bovine you would have a test done before you bought it but they cannot get those tests done. One farmer in my constituency has put an electric fence round his whole farm to stop the badgers taking the maize. If

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Mr Elliot Morley MP, Mr Richard Cawthorne and Ms Sue Eades [Continued

[Mr Wiggin Cont] you start to insist on bovine TB being a criteria for deciding whether a farmer is good or bad then you will see a wholesale slaughter of badgers, because that is what they believe is causing the disease. They are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. I urge you not to go down that road but to consider other ways of convincing farmers if biosecurity will help how it will help rather than take a punishing line with them. (Mr Morley) Testing should not be seen as punishing. We have a problem at the present time and I think testing is part of the solution to it. I do not think it is the only solution, that is why, as I said earlier on, I do not think we should be trapped into thinking there is one magic answer to the whole problem of bovine TB, the answer is a combination of things we have to look at. In areas where there is widespread TB I think it makes common sense to have testing before animals are moved on. I was talking to some dairy farmers from Cheshire recently who were keen on this idea. They were talking to me about the idea of isolating cattle coming in and testing it, which is certainly worthy of consideration, but it is probably better to do the testing before the animal moves, that is the more logical way of doing it. I do not disagree there can be diYculties in arranging the test because of the veterinary resource, that is true. That is why I come back to the point that one of the things we are exploring is the idea of veterinary technicians, possibly working under veterinary supervision, which would dramatically speed up the whole issue of testing. It is one of the aspects that we want to explore. (Mr Cawthorne) I think it is easy to get seduced on biosecurity looking purely at TB. There are many issues on biosecurity which cut across all animal diseases, disinfectants, holding animals in isolation before they join the main herd, etc, etc. Those are things that will work for TB and they will work for other diseases. On the issue of the diYculties of getting animals tested, fine, there may be that problem when there is this awful backlog but equally farmers can take the trouble to look at the quality, if you like, of the animal that is coming to them in terms of searching questions about the testing history of the farm and where the farm is located. The purchaser can set out to impose some form of quality control on the livestock that he is introducing into the system. There are things which the farmer will have diYculty controlling because TB hinges round the policy of test and remove, that is a fact of life. The badger issue is a function on particular farmers, no one is denying that. I do not think we should look at biosecurity solely in terms of TB control. Biosecurity in the sense of the animal health strategy is an across-the-board attempt to raise biosecurity on animal health standards on farms as a whole and many of those will aid in the control of tuberculosis. 197. In line with what you were saying about prepurchase testing, a lot of the cases in my constituency are from closed herds. Everyone would appreciate pre-purchase testing but who would pay for that? (Mr Morley) It would be the farmer’s responsibility. 198. Are we complying with EU TB testing regulations at the moment? What measures are in place to ensure that we do so?

(Mr Morley) We are certainly complying with the testing regulations. There has been the backlog issue but we are getting on top of that. (Mr Cawthorne) We carry out tests as required under EU legislation. We impose the post testing regime which is required when animals show up positive. In that sense we do comply with the EU requirements. We are not testing in any way diVerent to what is required in the EU. 199. Do you think when all the strands of the diVerent research are concluded—it is highly unlikely they all conclude at the same time—you will be expected to put a policy together? How do you think you will manage to do that? (Mr Morley) We have to put a policy together, we have to deal with the current issue as we are faced with at the present time. We are trying to adapt our policies, and the autumn announcement is an example of that. The proposals that we have put to the TB Forum includes their capital movement issues, test frequencies to be reassessed, additional controls according to the zone and the individual herd health history, and also looking at measures to include delivery of a TB control programme and address the shortage of veterinary resources. That is part of the strategy that we are putting in place to deal with that. Of course we are waiting for the recommendations from the Independent Scientific Group which will be designed to guide us in how we direct strategies for the future. Mr Jack 200. You are quite right when you countenance that this problem has been round for a long time. You also said a little while ago in your evidence not to think matters are spiralling out of control. Whilst it is containable and it has not spiralled out of control I could get the impression you are quite happy to be like the organ grinder and turn the handle quite slowly, is there a point at which the number of cases occurring means that there has to be a step-change in Defra’s policy and reaction to it? (Mr Morley) I understand the point you are making. What we are concerned about is policies which are eVective. The current situation is a matter of concern, I would not want you to think we are complacent about where we are with bovine TB, it still only eVects a small minority of the UK herd but it has spread and increased and these are issues of concern to us. We do want to put in place a strategy that ideally would lead to eradication. I do not think we want to see a policy that would be designed to live with bovine TB, all our energies and a great deal of resources are currently directed towards ways of trying to find ways to eradicate diseases. 201. What are you currently spending on dealing with the eradication of this disease? (Mr Morley) Probably between 60 million and 70 million currently. 202. How much in compensation pay? (Mr Morley) Roundabout 24 million. It is unusual year because we have a two year gap basically. 203. You are looking at an annual spend of about 20 million on compensation, is that the order of magnitude?

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[Mr Jack Cont] (Mr Morley) 2002 is an unusual year because you have a two year gap. On compensation it is about £31.7 million in 2002. 204. To put it into context, compared with BSE and compared with FMD this is very small beer really, is it not? (Mr Morley) Compared to those major outbreaks it is true it is a fraction of what they cost but these are still significant sums of money by any assessment. I would rather not be spending £73 million a year, which is what the total will be for 2002, on TB. There are lots of other things I would like to spend that money on. The sooner that we can get the disease under control the better that that will be. 205. It is not going to be like varroa where every year you draw a diVerent line on map and say, “This is the new varroa-free area”, the nasty little varroa mites leap over and populate another area and eventually you end up with no varroa-free zone. At the moment there are some parts of the country where, thankfully, we have not had outbreaks, it is gradually creeping in and people are frightened about it. (Mr Morley) Varroa is a very diYcult issue to contain, as you well know. 206. Indeed. (Mr Morley) TB is also very diYcult but we do not want to be in that situation. We want to fight back the outbreaks and move to a situation of eradication. We are prepared to commit substantial sums of money to finding ways to do that, as indeed we are. Mr Wiggin 207. Given the statistics do show what we are all feeling in our constituencies, that the number of cases is increasing dramatically, what hope can we tell our constituents about? (Mr Morley) I think it is important to explain where we are with the testing and the statistics. We are doing much more testing this year than we generally would.

I think we have done about 20% more testing. We are finding more breakdowns within a herd because of the delays and the backlog, and then there has been more spread within herds so therefore there is more backlog, so you are therefore getting more reactors and therefore you are culling more animals and paying more compensation. This is all a direct result of a delay in some cases of up to 18 months because of foot and mouth. I believe this will be bought on a more even keel. I think what we will see is that the spread will probably still increase but not quite so dramatically as people feel at the moment because of these figures which look really very significant but are based on two years’ gap in some cases. I think it has to be put in perspective. The other issue is to reassure farmers that we are committing everything we can on vaccine development, on disease control and the Krebs experiment. We do not rule out that there may well be a link with wildlife, which is badgers, and disease, but what we do not understand is what that link is or how significant it is or the best way of dealing with it. That is the whole idea of the experiments and we need that information to guide us on the best way. We are prepared to deal with some of the practical problems which farmers face, as we demonstrated with our autumn announcement, and the proposals we put to the ISG are based on our discussions with the industry in terms of how we can deal with it. Chairman 208. Thank you, as always, Minister, and thank you to your team as well. Two good pieces of news: one, you do not have to give any more evidence and we have to go away and write the report, and, second, if the Business Statement is to be believed you do not have to give evidence on flooding this week so you can delay that for a few weeks. So it is a much easier week than you originally thought. (Mr Morley) Thank you, Chairman. Good news all round.

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural AVairs (P34A) In your letter to me of 28 February you asked for some additional information about the backlog of cattle testing, in particular the employment of Veterinary Surgeons and the allocation of the £3 million allocated in the Spending review. A £3 million boost to the TB Herd Testing programme was announced on 29 July 2002. The additional funding has been used to enhance our existing resources, both at veterinary and administrative levels. The SVS has appointed approximately 50 additional casual Veterinary OYcers and 85 administrative staV. The additional funding has also contributed towards maintaining the SVS full staV complement in recognised TB areas as well as covering the additional travel and associated costs involved in visiting an increased number of premises. There is considerable input by SVS technical staV and the whole programme is underpinned by a considerable amount of work carried out by administrative staV. All SVS staV (excluding HQ SVS staV) are based throughout 24 Animal Health OYces GB wide. The SVS veterinary workforce is supplemented by Local Veterinary Inspectors (LVIs) and Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs). There are approximately 4,012 LVIs authorised to undertake TB work and 100 TVIs. Costs in relation to LVI TB duties have also increased. In 2002–03 the SVS anticipate a spend of over £10 million. This is an increase of £3 million compared to previous years and is in addition to the extra funding mentioned above. 17 March 2003

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APPENDICES TO THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
APPENDIX 1 Memorandum submitted by Mr Paul Holliday, Independent Feed Supplements Ltd (P2) I write in response to the invitation from DEFRA to submit evidence for your consideration. It has been my pleasure to supply animal feed supplements to livestock farmers all over the UK for thirty four years. My first observation is that there is a crisis in the incidence of bovine TB in both farmed and wild animals in southern England. The controls are currently ineVective. With TB, livestock farmers are locked into an impossible and deteriorating situation. My key submission is that currently the controls are ineVective because in the most aVected areas they only include farmed bovines, and exclude infected wild bovines. I have direct and significant evidence that when there is no wildlife reserve of TB, the infection can be contained very eVectively. In 34 years of supplying cattle farmers on The Isle of Man, where there is no TB wildlife reserve, badgers are not a native species, and TB control is solid. For all those years, most Manx farmers have been completely protected from the TB problems of southern England. In the absence of a wild life reserve, cattle to cattle transmission of TB infection appears to be very minimal. Confirmed Reactors—rare. The only notable exception was last year, when, in January 2002, post-FM, one imported animal was detected with TB. By the end of 2003, the testing process and precautionary slaughtering of original—traced contacts had completely contained the infection. The island was very eVectively cleared of infection in one year. It has always bothered me that two communities of farmers should have such contrasting experiences of an important animal health (and originally human health) responsibility. Like most country people, I like to see harmony of farmed and wild animals, living together in an ecological balance. To me, the welfare of both are equally important. Currently—both are suVering unwittingly. I have no other suggestion than that the problems of TB infection on farms and in the wild cannot be eVectively tackled in isolation from each other, as is the case on many aVected farms in southern England. Because DEFRA does have a broad spectrum base now, safe food production in a balanced environment, this could be one instance where eVective action, taken with courage, could provide a gradual solution, rather than the present escalating problem. Also, to demonstrate that this is an attempt at a balanced submission, I am a founding trustee of Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, a registered charity funding a wide range of environmental projects, including enhancing and protecting wildlife, and wildlife habitats. 24 January 2003 APPENDIX 2 Supplementary memorandum submitted by Mr Paul Holliday (P2A) I write further to you at the Chairman’s invitation, following my attendance at the oral evidence session of 10 February. I was most pleased at the quality of the Committee and the content of the evidence taking. My comments are from substantial experience in an industry directly involved in on-farm animal husbandry. Animal and crop husbandry, animal nutrition, animal welfare, animal movement restrictions, animal biosecurity, in the UK, all are at a very high international standard. Our random sampling of food, annual reports from the VDM provide constant evidence of this. Honourable Member for the Forest of Dean raised the question of Switzerland. I believe the answer to the low levels of TB there is this: Unimproved pasture, small scale unit dairy/beef production, heavily supported by the Government. Not even attempting to compete in a world market . . . without support. In this country, we have chosen to compete in the global dairy products market, within the framework of the EU. This has meant, as a matter of business viability: improved pasture and cultivation of crops like maize. This also means high pasture soil fertility, high worm populations. High yields of grass and maize for farmed bovines, high yields of worms and other scavenged food for wild bovines. This process became very intense and urgent following the deregulation of the UK dairy industry. Less reliance on artifical fertiliser also demands; cultivated, well aerated—humus rich soil. The current trend for more sustainable production indicates high pasture worm population status too. We have I believe, inadvertently changed the eco system dynamically. In the future, Decoupling may reduce cattle populations geneally, but may increase dairy herd size substantially . . . in less units. I suspect soil

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fertility will stay high for some years even on pastures that become semi-permanent again. Maybe this would indicate a decade of substantial growth of wild bovine populations. So, my feeling is, that if the present eVort at TB control is to be eVective, it needs to immediately address the main sources of infection, farmed and wild. In a way, the cost to the Treasury of this inadvertent impact on the eco system, is at least a comparable cost I would guess, as the approach taken by Switzerland. A true irony. And much less harsh a place, than where the global market may have chaotically brought your committee to. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to engage in this consultation process. 11 February 2003 APPENDIX 3 Memorandum submitted by PCP & JG Harris (P3) I think that there is a need to cull some of the badger population in TB hot-spots. There is a definite link between badgers and cattle which has been agreed by most people in the field. I do not think that farmers are asking for a wholesale cull of badgers but some must be disposed of. If there is too large a population then there is a good chance that all types of disease will spread amongst the badgers and they will suVer in any case. A measured response to this diYcult political problem is needed which addresses both sides of the argument. I have had a recent TB test and one cow was declared an IR. It was culled immediately and we received OTMS prices. But a quick outcome to the test is what is needed. This is the biggest annoyance of the whole matter. More testing staV must be employed to cut the time delay. January 2003 APPENDIX 4 Memorandum submitted by Mr Tim Brooke (P4) TB has been around our area of northeast Herefordshire for about six years but we only went down for the first time in June 2000. Prior to that time starting in 1998 I took the decision to try and prevent badgers from coming onto the farm by use of a five strand high-tensile electric fence (New Zealand type). The main reason was to prevent major losses to our forage maize, the first year we grew it we lost in excess of two acres out of one 8-acre field. But also to try and prevent the risk of TB getting into the 120-cow pedigree herd. I’m sure that the fence was eVective for a while as no further maize was lost and indeed several years before failing in June 2000. Since that time we have lost 31 cows and been closed down most of the time since then. The cattle here have absolutely no contact with other cattle and we have run a closed herd. However, the badgers are actually travelling approximately three quarters of a mile following the boundary fence all the way to a tarmac road (council public road) which runs through the farm, and then using said road to gain access to the grazing areas of the farm. I have personally seen two badgers do this in broad daylight. I remain convinced that the only way our cattle contracted TB is through these badgers, there are 13 setts on neighbouring farms to ours and within two miles of our farm. Probably populated with 100 badgers or more. The commonly heard statement from the BP league is that despite numerous trapping experiments TB still thrives. Well of course it does, due to the fact that during those early tests non-infected farms were not trapped at all and also lactating sow badgers were released, I remind you that badgers will travel great distances for food and do not respect farm boundaries. It has been my life’s work on this farm to breed up and maintain a healthy pedigree herd of dairy cows and its soul destroying to see often our best cows going for slaughter. We have erected approx four miles of fence around every inch of this farm and spent many thousands of pounds doing it and yet we still keep losing cows. I firmly believe that unless the powers that be address this problem seriously and head on that TB will grow into a catastrophe for the cattle industry and possibly public health as well. The large sums of money being spent now will be beer money compared to the potential costs in the near future. I could talk at great length about the major cock-ups etc. that we have experienced whilst dealing with MAFF and latterly DEFRA but I am sure you’ve heard before but leaving an animal on a farm nine weeks after she failed a TB skin test cannot be good for bio security, and this happens all too often. I would welcome the opportunity to speak further on this subject to whoever will listen, BPL vets, government oYcial’s etc, and feel I have valuable knowledge to pass on. January 2003

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APPENDIX 5 Memorandum submitted by Mr Thomas Hawkins, Thomas R Hawkins (Farms) Ltd (P5) Very little information reaches the farming community about the “progress” of the Krebs trial. Our own farm at Bosbury is in an elimination area, and so we are aware that DEFRA operatives have visited in order to cull badgers. With this reduction in numbers I am not expecting to have any reactors in our herd during 2003. Time will tell. Information should be compiled as to the cost of the 1992 Badger Act: — To the Government in compensating for reactors. — To farmers in the frequent handling of stock for test. — To farmers for the disruption to production and cashflow. — To highway authorities for remaking roads undermined by badgers and other such items. — To DEFRA vet department in maintaining such a huge and sick population of badgers in the country, let alone these farcical Krebs trials. Badger numbers and incidence of bovine TB have gone up steadily from the point in 1992 when the Act came in. Plot each of these items against the year. Now Krebs have started, presumably 30–40% of the aVected areas have been culled out. So let’s see the eVect over the next 12–24 months of incidence of bovine TB. Most farmers and rural vets are confidently expecting a proportionate drop. If this drop is achieved, no more time should be wasted. A humane routine to cull badgers should be described, and permitted. By all means combine an academic study of the disease; but stop the irresponsible use of the whole countryside as a laboratory for Prof Bourne’s big budget experimentation. Clearly, the breeding season needs to be safe-guarded and public opinion would resist the use of dogs. There are enough safe havens in all counties to ensure that a healthy badger population would survive; so let us find an eVective and low profile means to do the job. This will end the waste of public money, which can be re-directed to other priorities, and it will end the ridiculous and heart breaking disruption to farmer’s livelihoods. 27 January 2003 APPENDIX 6 Memorandum submitted by Mr Martin Hancox (P6) In your 2000 Report my memorandum (with above title) listed 3 key control measures needed 1. Annual testing (all cattle), 2. Movement ban, 3. Centralised scheme and concluded “There will be nil progress until measures 1-3 above are relaunched— badger culls are a waste of money because they don’t work” 1 These views were based on the 4 classics Francis 1947, 1958, Myers 1940, 1969 as reviewed elsewhere and with various warnings and criticisms of the Krebs trial submitted to the Committee in the interim, many being available on the web 2-12. Sadly, the two years impact of 2001 foot and mouth has meant eVectively abandoning the 3 controls— Cattle TB is out of control, back to 1960s levels, with increased risk to man6,9 The government, DEFRA, ISG response, specifically the autumn package (news releases 9 Oct. 407/02, 21 Nov. 476/02) is a too little too late compromise. It is still claimed (wrongly) that it is not known how TB is transmitted so “robust science” husbandry risks/controls cannot be launched 13,14, so two main topics are addressed: Cattle TB Control In textbooks, bovine TB is simply a slow but progressive broncho-pneumonia, hence : 1. If unchecked, TB spreads slowly but inexorably at 3 levels : (a) Individual—the initial lung lesion/s grow and spawn secondary lesions in the lungs, then kidneys, uterus, udder, etc. The older the animal the more advanced the TB is in size/number lesions, test positivity, infectiousness: few bacilli shed intermittently, then with multiple gross lesions up to 38 million/day; (b) Population—1. Within herds, 2. Local cluster of herds, 3.Distant herd via missed—carrier, producing new “hotspot” cluster—clusters grow and merge eventually; (c) Respiratory—spread via aerosolised sputum, just like human colds, flu, TB and other cattle “pneumonias” (Viral RSV, Bacterial Pasteurella etc, mycoplasmal).

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2. The two Checks are determined by the long incubation of the disease (a) Annual Testing—on “average” it takes about two months to become a reactor, eight to 65 days then about a year to reach the more infectious visible lesion stage (one and a half—15 m)15-l7 However the classic studies noted that depending on challenge dose TB may heal fully . . . remain latent for years . . . progress slightly with remissions and exacerbations, a chronic TB—or become acute and fatal in months. A group of calves infected in 1987 had one reactor then, 1989 17 in Apr., 2 Jun., l Aug., then 1 each in 1990–92, so 24 reactors, 14 VL in six yrs showing the danger of leaving inconclusives in-situ. Also, around 9% may be infectious by 6 months, 17% by 12 m, 26% by 18 m, 34% by 24 m 19 . In Ulster with annual testing reinstated in 1982 only 20% infectious. Spread of TB may then be rapid; many breakdowns now with reactors in double figures. (b) Movement Ban—apart from false positives, this latency is partly why the test is only 80% accurate (68% on retests) so a movement ban is the only guaranteed way of preventing spread to TB-free areas. Less useful is sourcing from allegedly TB-free areas, pre-movement tests, or the option so far, post-movement test which can never be better than catch-up. Restocking already taken TB to areas TB-free up to 50 years:—Powys/Dumfries, Ayr, Banf ?/Cumbria, Northumberland, Durham, Yorks, Leic, Sussex. 3. Widely overlooked is why annual testing is the gold standard worldwide and under EC Directives, but it has three critical impacts on TB control: (a)Minimising Spread—Reactors are removed at the early legion stage before they can pass on TB to any extent, both within the herd and in sold on stock. Both factors apply to contiguous or bought-in stock in local or distant herds—if these are on longer test intervals TB will simply build up within the herd—some breakdowns now 60% of herd aVected. (b)Respiratory Spread—The microscopic NVL lesion/s are almost 100% in the lungs or lymph nodes associated with the respiratory tract, these early lesions show spread by inhalation—abbatoir material14,15-17,20 and contact studies,14,21,22. Stage of urinogenital, udder late TB not reached, avoiding maternal-calf transmission. (c) Demographic—after some years of annual testing older tuberculous stock removed, so the ongoing problem is confined to younger stock. Older cows may be anergic superexcretors; three such caused 18 breakdowns or 10% of total, early 1970s Penwith. And activation of latent TB in older cows may cause breakdown in herd “closed” 10 yrs ! . Conclusion The autumn package of measures meant to curb the spread from hotspots is too late—2b above. Until the national herd has been tested at least once it wont be known where TB has got to. The “oYcial” backlog of herd tests has only fallen from 27,000 to 10,000 herds (Nov.) but with usually some 35,000/a the whole test programme is way behind. Several years of annual testing in hotspots are needed to even begin to bring spread under control, let alone get ahead of it. It is absurd that it is taking some 53–320 days to remove reactors to slaughter. The initial freeze on recruiting extra vets has been lifted. The idea of lay testing has been raised again (Oct, and recently) but would be a disaster . . . testing interpretation is subjective, and long experience of a herd desirable as with the inconclusives above. Alternative Tests GB and Ireland have derogation to use the comparative intradermal, but Francis warned of false positivity; the single (bovine PPD) used on the continent might be better. IFN also too many false !, never better than a backup to skin tests. PCR with IS6110 or MPB70 probes can confirm small samples in two days. An Edinburgh vet J.Gamgee (D.Mail 26 Ap.02) said the overzealous removal of BSE risk materials at abattoirs means that this vital complement to tracing TB herds from TB lesions lost. 1. Badger Involvement? The 1991 Krebs Report concluded that is not known IF, how, or to what extent badgers MIGHT give cattle TB; nor if culls work. The Bourne trial is meant to solve both issues by 2005 , but the Crisis is already out of control, and 4 things are already clear: 1.1 Cattle TB respiratory—transmission is almost entirely by inhalation as shown by the early primary lesion complex 3b above, so badgers are an improbable source. The study of badgers in barns widely hailed as The Answer 23 failed to mention an earlier study which showed that even if TB badgers and calves co-habit long-term transmission is diYcult; unlikely under field conditions of brief sporadic visits to barns. Four calves exposed under one month failed to get TB .22 1.2 Very few badgers reach the infectious stage:—at Woodchester over 14 yrs 1981–94 with c. 300 badgers in 9 km2, Only 188 infected, 41 infectious, 17 superinfectious ie. 58 (31%). Hence little spread within or

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between clans, let alone to cattle, indeed clear spillover from cattle (which isn’t supposed to happen) 25. Extrapolating these figures to the eventual Krebs/Bourne cull of c. 12,500 badgers, would give 2,500 with TB, 750 infectious, in relation to c, 3,000 farms in 2,000 km2 cull area, ie one infectious badger per 13 km2, or 1 per 20 herds. No cull, fertility control or vaccination will ever be remotely cost-eVective or practicable (even if very rarely such a superinfectious badger living in a barn caused a breakdown). 1.3 Ulster had some 50% of badgers with TB in some 1970s samples but have always regarded badgers as merely a spillover host, irrelevant to cattle TB, not culled. 1.4 GBs textbook cattle TB scheme 1-12 brought TB down to tiny southwest “cattle hotspots” rather than high-density badger ones, with almost no culling, the low of 89 herds /600 cases 1979. TB has spread far and wide beyond these supposedly important badger hotspots revealing them as spectacularly irrelevant now. By Nov. 2827 new incidents and over 21,000 cases . . . Nothing to do with Old Brock.

References 1. Select Committee, 2000, Badgers and bovine TB, HC 92, Appdx. 15, p. 75.—Hancox M, 2002 refs 212—and earlier ones. 2. Biologist 49 :144 www.iob.org/biologist.Letterbox, Badgers and bovine TB, and 42 :159. 3. Foot and Mouth Inquiries, www.fmd-lessonslearned.org.uk/A-submissions, Hancox 4 lett. 4. ditto, www.royalsoc.ac.uk/inquiry/evidence—ind—h.htm, Hancox 4 submissions. 5. J.Agric.Sci. 139:1-4 Great Debate, and 135:333 revw. Bourne 2, 125:441 transm.badgr. 6. Lancet 359:706 health risk. 7. Lett.Appl.Miorobiol. --, and 31:87-93 cattle schemes, transmission cattle 28:242, and in badgers 24:226. 8. Microbiol.Today 29:166 , www.socgenmicrobiol.org.uk/QUA!mtaugO2.htm.comment 9. Respir.Medec. 96:842-5 cattl.TB crisis, www.idealibrary.com ; &94:1007 schemes, 93:220 transmission cattle 10. Sci.in Parliament 59:22 bov.TB, 58:19 culling to end? 11. Small Carnivore Conservation 27:32 TB Politics, 26:22 Great Debate/Bern Convtn. 12. Tuberculosis—and 81:185-7 cattle schemes . 13. Bourne J. 2001 , 3rd Report, www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/isg. 14. Goodchild A, 2001, Tuberculosis 81:23 cattle transmission. 15. McIlroy S, 1986, Vet.Rec. 118:718. 16. Neill S, 1988, Vet.Rec. 122:184. 17. Cassidy J, 1999, Vet.Rec. 144:139. 18. Good M, 1994, ERAD Selected Papers 1993: 45. 19. GriYn J, 2002, ERAD Selected Papers 2000–01 :54. 20. White P, 1997, ERAD Selected Papers 1996:64 21. Costello E, 1998, Vet. J. 155: 245. 22. Little T, 1982, Vet.Rec. 111: 550. 23. Garnett B, 2002, Proc. Royal Soc. B 269: 1487. 24. Smith G, 1995, Mammalia 59:639. 25. Delahay R, 2000, J. Anim.Ecol. 69: 428.

Postscript Having been on the TB Panel, and involved for 12 years, it is very depressing that a whole generation of farmers, vets, biologists, and politicians have grown up being told for 30 years that badgers are the problem. Current research has accordingly failed to understand the simplicity of spread once a “critical mass” of lung lesions arises. Cause and cure of the crisis is clear but politically diYcult. My suggestion to ministers (tongue in cheek) is to sack the Bourne-ISG team and the trial is taking too long (5 yrs so far) to understand TB in cows will doubtless go unheeded. 27 January 2003

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APPENDIX 7 Supplementary memorandum submitted by Mr Martin Hancox (P6A) Further to your Oral Evidence meeting of the 10th inviting additional comment and since the content discussed and reported since in the farming press is equivocal, can I make just four points which will be UNPALATABLE, yet unavoidably “True”: 1. Cattle TB is OUT OF CONTROL, and is back to 1960s levels, so 50 years progress has been thrown away (9,000 cases 1962, 23,000 last year; distribution whole of UK again and spreading, since two to four year test areas now in eVect five to seven years without checks). 2. From 1960 annual tests and movement ban into TB-free areas as they became clear achieved 1979 low point 89 herds/600 cases, WITHOUT any badger culls (limited cull 1975 on in Glos. i.e. where “first” TB badger found, not worse Cornwall/Devon areas). 3. This systematic annual testing and movement ban—as outlined in prior memo & the 2000 Report—will all have to be done again. And any compromises will simply make progress slower, more expensive long term. It will be harder this time as herds are larger, even more stock movement. And there are No Alternatives. The IFN test only sanctioned by EU as a backup, is useful in big problem herds, IFN, vaccines (still 10-15 years away), badger RTAs and other “Research” are ALL Red Herrings. Some 35,000 herds tested / year pre F M D, third of national herd is the minimum; last year only 43,000 tests and a 9,000 herd backlog won’t be cleared until summer 2003. At least some staggered annual tests needed in 2-4 year areas to begin to locate new hotspots eg in intensive dairying Cheshire, Lancshire . . . paramount to “get ahead” of spread as opposed to merely playing catch-up with current “autumn package” measures. 4. Britain’s very successful TB Cattle scheme from the 1960 launch will have to be endured again, and will take at least a decade to “bite”. No badger culls involved, as indicated in main memo, any badger contribution ` tiny (or nil), no badger intervention will ever be practical, or cost-eVective. That is all the Krebs/Bourne trial will come up with by 2007: scrapping the trial now would release some £30-35 million infinitely better spent catching up on cattle testing (and not likely to be available from treasury otherwise). Personally, since neither dairy or beef production is really economic now, I’d advise farmers to get out now rather than endure another decade of TB shambles orchestrated by the inept DEFRA/ISG. 18 February 2003

APPENDIX 8 Memorandum submitted by Mary Quicke (P7) TB IN DAIRY COWS I write to share any concerns about TB which I perceive to be a food scare in the making.

1. Cows DEFRA have been 25000! tests late, although the situation has improved. Anecdotally, one quarter of late tests are coming back with confirmed TB in Devon. As positive tests come back, neighbouring farms move from three yearly to three or six monthly testing, thus increasing the demand for testing. The disease is also spreading into new areas. From the outside, the stance of DEFRA in the face of this rapidly increasing workload is not such that will overcome this. It appears it occurs to them as an insuperable resource problem, rather as we saw in foot and mouth disease, that they cannot and will not resolve.

2. Human Risk Currently bovine TB (I believe) is only a zoonosis in cowmen: infected urine or sputum as aerosol, breathed in in milking parlours. Pasteurization is considered correctly to have eradicated it as a food-borne disease. However, the two pronged defence against the disease of relatively low incidence and regular testing in dairy herds, plus pasteurization has in many parts of the country been reduced to one layer. Unpasteurized cheese represents a theoretical risk, although literature reviews conducted for the Specialist Cheesemakers Association by John Dennis of the Institute of Food Research suggests that even under the worst case, an infective dose is several orders of magnitude away via the oral route from consuming unpasteurized cheese.

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3. Political Background Animal campaigners have made addressing the “wildlife reservoir” issue extremely hot for spin-sensitive politicians. Prof Bourne, responsible for the Krebs trial, now clearly states the role of badgers in the transfer of the disease. However no practical action on stemming the wildlife transfer of this disease to farm animals is politically possible until the trial is complete. 4. Badgers Our perception on the farm is that badgers are in the process of a population boom, having no predators. All setts are growing and daughter setts are being created. Badgers are now common sight on our farm, unlike 20 years ago. Farms previously clear of TB are going down to TB all around us. 5. International Background Countries such as Denmark and Germany are in the process of TB eradication campaigns. They have no significant wildlife reservoirs and will probably achieve their aim. Once they have done so, they may be tempted to create a market advantage to compensate for the costs of this action. 6. A Food Scare in the Making? Farmers are starting to shout vociferously about TB in the national herd; other countries may not be averse to raising the profile. DEFRA could be portrayed as paralysed: late tests, under manning, excuses. Human health has relied on two layers of defence. One layer of defence, the relatively low incidence of the disease in the national herd, has disappeared. Journalists undoubtedly could find evidence of a (very low) level of phosphatase failure in pasteurised products, perhaps insuYcient to cause disease, but possibly suYcient to run a good story given the other “juicy” elements of the story. If the retailers thought consumers would be averse to FMD vaccinated milk, the impact of attempting to sell even the pasteurised milk from tuberculous cows is not already clear. Suggested Agricultural Committee Action I request that the Agricultural Committee use its influence to elevate the resources put into TB testing by DEFRA. The apparent lack of vigour into pursuing the disease is too reminiscent of salmonella in eggs, BSE and FMD. While I guess that the food-borne TB risk has elevated marginally, the publicity risk has elevated enormously. The Agricultural Committee needs to have addressed this issue before it becomes a media football: that way the real risk and the perceived risk will stay more aligned. 29 January 2003 APPENDIX 9 Memorandum submitted by the Countryside Commission for Wales (P8) The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) is the statutory adviser to government on sustaining natural beauty, wildlife and the opportunity for outdoor enjoyment throughout Wales and its inshore waters. With English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage, CCW delivers its statutory responsibilities for Great Britain as a whole, and internationally, through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). CCW is acutely aware of the need to bring bovine TB under control. Indeed, at the present time its incidence in some parts of Wales is increasing. We have previously expressed our concern about the balance of eVort expended by DEFRA, and its MAFF predecessor, between the badger culling trials in southwest England and other measures to try to reduce the incidence of bovine TB by understanding its epidemiology better. We are familiar with the comments made by the House of Commons Agriculture Committee in April 1999 in its report, “Badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis” and the subsequent Reply by the Government published in April 2001. We are also aware that the badger culling trials have been delayed because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. We are not suYciently familiar with the trial’s methodology to form a view about whether, in spite of the trial’s delay, there will be any impact on the veracity of the trial’s results.

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What continues to concern us more is whether the Government has formulated a range of policy options (as suggested it would in the Reply by the Government referred to above) depending upon whether the trial concludes that the badger is a significant vector in the spread of bovine TB to cattle or not. We are not aware of any such options being proposed. We have previously expressed concern about the speed of TB vaccine development (whether for cattle or wildlife) and on the concentration on the badger as a primary vector in TB spread and the comparative lack of attention paid to other possible vectors. Although it is not within our sphere of competence, we also have concerns about the role of modern animal husbandry practices, breed selection, cattle to cattle transfers, and such factors as trace element deficiencies and suppression of the cattle immune system due to the presence of other infections, in the incidence and spread of bovine TB amongst cattle. 28 January 2003 APPENDIX 10 Memorandum submitted by Mr Matthew Oliver (P9) 1. Firstly, a brief introduction of myself: and the situation I am in. I farm in Herefordshire on a farm that has been in my family since 1888. It is a traditional family farm with a single suckler herd of Hereford cattle, sheep and arable. We used to employ nine people all of whom lived in the village, and we are now down to one full time employee. The situation is getting worse as the months go by, but was brought to a head by events last spring. 2. After a routine TB test on the farm, seven of my cattle reacted to the on farm test. This represents 10% of the breeding herd. This meant that they would have to be culled and the farm would have to pass two more tests before being declared free from the disease. Each of these tests is 60 days apart. This means that nothing can be sold or moved from the beef herd until we have cleared these tests. Although the new provisions allow for movement to slaughter for finished cattle and to a finisher for younger cattle, it does not in reality work for the store cattle producer, as the price would be artificially low from an only option whilst also carrying the risk of creating a pool of disease by accepting animals from around the country. After several weeks the knackerman came to shoot the seven cows. Each of the cows was pregnant. One was due to calve that day. So in eVect 14 lives were lost, as the unborn calves would slowly suVocate. The fact that it took so very long for the cattle to be taken oV the farm was outrageous. If these animals were ill, and a risk to other livestock, then they should be removed immediately. Please, would it not make sense to have the systems that are already in place working on time and up to date, before bringing in placebo packages that do little to alleviate the on farm problems. 3. There are two ways in which they can then confirm TB. One is to find lesions in the throat and the other is to grow it in culture from the blood under laboratory conditions. None of the cattle had lesions in their throats and they were unable to grow it in the laboratory. Even so, we were not cleared after the second test as the department was in free fall due to the volume of work. It would seem from this that the whole system is relying on an inadequate on farm test, any improvement of which would be very welcome, but quickly. The acceptance that each case is an individual one, with its own unique factors, would go a long way to alleviating some of the stress to be found on the farm. 14 animals were killed, five months of farming was brought to a standstill, compensation, for the animals killed only, was paid with funding from the tax payer and still the general situation had not changed at all. I must add at this point, that it was only due to my persistence with the conviction that we should be cleared, by telephoning every day, that when I eventually got hold of the ministry vet dealing with our case he immediately lifted the restrictions on the farm. Anyone not telephoning and being annoying to them would have suVered for many more weeks with the huge costs of keeping cattle beyond their sell-by dates, resulting in great losses for the farm. 4. We are in an area that is having nothing done in the trials. So it is likely that our situation will not change in the near future and the events described above will simply carry on, with increased regularity, until farming of cattle in some areas will become impossible. At this point please note that dairy farmers, even with TB, can continue to sell their milk and so have a regular income. Selling store cattle (cattle which need to be fattened in the cheapest way possible) is best done in the spring so they can go onto fresh growth of grass, which is not there by late summer. If your cattle are not for sale in the spring, farmers looking to buy will go elsewhere and so you will have cattle, that by the summer are too big for the market and will have eaten too much to ever see a return. You can only stand one year of that. As a farm that uses very traditional methods, with a local breed of cattle that were bred for the region and the job they had to do, one would imagine that we would have the full support of the ministry. But none of the measures actually help us on a day to day basis with the struggle to survive. We produce beef cattle on this farm. When we have TB we can sell nothing, we produce nothing, we have no income, we cannot survive. 5. We are told that the main methods of transmission for TB are by nose to nose contact with other infected bovines, infected foodstuVs brought onto the farm, importing an infected animal from a diVerent area of the country and infection from wildlife.

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We are a closed herd, meaning that all our replacement heifers are reared on the farm, so no animals are brought onto the farm. We grow all the food for our animals (including the sheep) on the farm, so no foodstuVs are brought onto the farm. We have one fence line of a few hundred yards with a neighbour and we liase over movements so they do not meet over it. It should be noted that they had a clear TB test after we had reacted “positively”, so we could not have picked it up from them. This leaves the infection from wildlife, which I am pleased to say we have in abundance. It would be good to have healthy cattle living with healthy wildlife. The badger population on the farm has increased, as the methods of control, which I suspect were practised by my father and grandfather, have ceased to be used. If they have TB, they will die from it anyway and will infect the badgers they live with and any other susceptible animals that they come into contact with. Surely a test for badgers and the cull of any infected ones would be sensible. Please note that no animal rights protesters came to the farm on the harrowing morning when 10% of my herd was shot. Please also note that Dr. Elaine King said that, “the outbreak on the farm in Herefordshire was due to contact with deer” (Farmers Weekly). We last saw a deer on the farm in 1984, and it was such an event that I took a photograph of it. 6. The problem in some areas is getting out of hand. Our local veterinary practise spends most of their big animal time on TB testing, which will be costing the government. It also costs the farmer, as he has to hire help to move (in my case 155) animals through a crush on two days in the test week. The delays to the trials and failure to push on with the research into vaccines for cattle and badgers will mean that any developments will come too late for some areas, with the traditional herds built up over decades wiped out and the farms with them. I cannot express the distress that was felt on our farm when the cattle tested “positive”, the resulting delay before they were culled and the wait until we could resume some form of normality whilst constantly aware that we were likely to be going through all this again. The concern is heightened by the knowledge that once under TB restrictions, the rural payments agency will not recognise “force majeure” and in a closed herd such as ours it becomes impossible to replace animals and to abide by the strict RPA rules whilst maintaining herd integrity. There need to be some coherent policies to deal with all the problems, whilst recognising the eVects on a whole farm situation. 28 January 2003

APPENDIX 11 Memorandum submitted by Mr M H and Mrs J D M Raymond (P10) We have decided to submit evidence to the inquiry as our business has recently been aVected by bovine tuberculosis. We have been constantly frustrated in our eVorts to deal with the situation and the way it is dealt with by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs, and continue to run a viable business. We hope that evidence such as ours will help the inquiry, and ultimately the committee, to improve the way in which bovine TB is being currently dealt with, and save people like us and the government a great deal of time and expense. As a business we employ three family members and two others, and our main enterprise involves the production of prime cattle for slaughter. This involves the purchase of store cattle, and fattening them indoors for a period of around three months, before their sale to slaughter. We aim to fatten around a thousand cattle annually. We sell no animals to other farmers, so there is no risk of us spreading the disease of TB to any other farms. We are also told that there is no risk to humans from eating TB infected meat, so the two cases we have had in the last thirty years have gone into the human food chain, in the same way that all of our cattle are slaughtered and processed. These two cases were discovered in animals that had already been sent to slaughter, in January 2001 and September 2001, and we are as sure as we can be that they were already infected when they arrived on our premises and were not infected while they were on our farm. Before these two cases DEFRA were happy not to test any of our cattle (except occasional follow-up cases from other holdings,) as we keep no breeding stock, and all of our cattle are sold to slaughter, which seemed like a sensible decision to us. Since then we have had five TB tests, (as we write we are in the middle of a sixth) which involve four of us, a vet, and a vet’s clerk for up to six hours on two days (for each test) in order to test three to four hundred cattle. This does not include any time needed for relevant paperwork to be carried out. These tests have only discovered two “reactors”, which after their slaughter and cultures having been taken, have proved TB negative. And so all of these tests have provided no extra information about TB, and have just wasted our and DEFRA’s valuable resources. And of course, any cases we have in our cattle will always be observed after their slaughter. Our concerns and problems surrounding how TB is being dealt with lie in several areas.

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1. Initially, we find it very diYcult to understand why our enterprise, and others like ours, are subject to such stringent controls when it is blatantly obvious to us, and to many of the ministry vets that we come into contact with that our farm does not have a TB problem, and that we are highly unlikely to spread any infection, as all of our cattle remain indoors and go directly to slaughter. 2. Secondly, many of the protocols that DEFRA use when dealing with TB seem to lack a great deal of logic, but when we ask for explanations we are told that DEFRA are following EU legislation or guidelines. We feel sure that if these protocols could be re-written using a little common sense, the cost of dealing with TB could be streamlined for everyone. 3. Thirdly, in the geographical area where we live and work (Herefordshire and the Welsh Marches) bovine TB appears to be spreading faster than foot and mouth did, and the measures DEFRA are currently using to control the disease do not show any signs of slowing the spread of infection. The removal of infected cattle is a minimal help in slowing the spread of the disease, as it is believed that there is little transmission of TB from one bovine animal to another. Therefore, no matter how sensitive a subject it may be, it is obvious that the underlying source of infection must be removed, before more money is wasted needlessly killing thousands more cattle. If this source of infection is not removed, any further work carried out by DEFRA to remove bovine TB from the national herd will be completely worthless. 4. Finally, bovine TB aVects many rural businesses, not just farms, and if rural regeneration is to continue after the disastrous economic eVects of foot and mouth, the actions needed to remove bovine TB, and minimise it’s costs must happen sooner rather than later. In conclusion, we urge the committee to listen to the comments and advice from those people whose daily lives are aVected by bovine TB and its aftermath. Their suggestions and ideas may well prove more sensible and cost-eVective than those provided by EU directives and guidelines. 28 January 2003 APPENDIX 12 Memorandum submitted by Mr Frank Thompstone (P11) The badger population has exploded. I understand some estimates are by 70% over five years. We now have badgers living on parts of the farm that were previously not their normal habitat. It is often the weaker ones that are driven out to colonise new areas. There is overwhelming evidence from trials, both in the UK and Ireland that show that controlling badgers will reduce or even stop the spread of TB in cattle. The delays in culling have only led to further spread of the TB and it seems ridiculous to me to allow cattle to threatened in such numbers unnecessarily. What about the potential PR problems for both the dairy industry and the government that can only be worsening? 28 January 2003 APPENDIX 13 Memorandum submitted by Mr Nigel Finch (P12) We are producer retailers and have been since 1928. Our herd became TB Attested in 1930 and we remained TB free for almost 60 years, the herd has been completely closed for 40 years other than the purchase of perhaps five stock bulls and closed entirely for 25 years. We are however as our name suggests surrounded by woodland, 20 years ago we had two badger earth’s now we have eight, and the next door estate I am told has 36. Just before our first breakdown we found a dead badger by the cattle water trough, it was taken to the DVO in Gloucester and confirmed with TB. Three months later in our herd test we had three TB positives and since then we have been in and out of restrictions until Foot and Mouth. As soon as these restrictions were lifted I insisted on an immediate test, you can see the sorry story since then on the attached chart [not printed]. Five tests in 12 months 52 cattle destroyed and we reckon each test costs us about £500 in labour alone. With continued restrictions we have been unable to sell any live cattle since before the Foot and Mouth outbreak and have now reached breaking point with regard to business losses, livestock numbers, and consequent animal welfare. With the current government plans in operation there is quite clearly no light at the end of the tunnel. Our own Vet and many others closely involved in the current disaster consider the whole programme out of control. I suggest three ways forward: (1) Allow farmers to eliminate the Badger population and any suspected wildlife in the infected areas, and test the cattle even more often.

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(2) If a vaccine should be available it must be used instantly. (3) Accept that TB is endemic and save us all a great deal of problems and expense. The current situation simply cannot be allowed to continue. I am particularly annoyed as I was a member of the Labour Ministers Regional Panel some 33 years ago when we were told that TB had been cleared through out the UK except in Wotton Under Edge and West Penwith. The then DVO indicated that the Badger Population had contracted TB and was acting as a pool of infection but only in those two spots. No attempt was made to accept our advice at that time, nor has any government done so since, to tell the farmers to eliminate the sick badgers. So here we are 40 years later with sick badgers and cows all over the UK. In addition it seems to me that the test procedure may be flawed in as much as cattle reacting to the current test only show that TB antibodies are present. These antibodies would be present if the animal were naturally resistant to TB and may not necessarily indicate a carrier or as is suggested in the DEFRA notice a CONTACT. I fail to see the logic of slaughtering animals who maybe genetically or otherwise resistant to the very disease we are trying to eradicate. I have tried to be brief but would be pleased to attend a meeting or supply any further information if it would help to alleviate this problem. TB is far worse than Foot and Mouth, that disease could be contained, with the current approach TB never will be. 27 January 2003

APPENDIX 14 Memorandum submitted by Mr David Haine (P13) I am writing regarding the investigation into TB you are presently involved in. I farm in Gloucestershire, ironically in one of the Krebs test areas, although we know that there has not been a case on the farm in the last 30 years, until September 2002! Since then we have lost 18 cows out of a herd of 80. Seeing as the only animals we brought in had come from a recently tested clear herd in an area known to be free from TB, and our cows can’t touch any other bovines due to deep ditches and arable land, we can only conclude that some wild animals have brought in the disease. Also none of the animals we’d brought in have gone down with TB to date. To add to this, it doesn’t help that every vet I have spoken to, even those that work in DEFRA, have said that it must have been brought in by badgers and that if I could exclude the badgers from where the cows eat I would find that the TB would very quickly go away. I must say that this does appear to be the case. So why is it that the Government line says diVerent? The only thing I can think of is that they don’t like badgers as they condemn more and more each year to a very slow unpleasant death with TB. 30 January 2003

APPENDIX 15 Memorandum submitted by the Society for the Eradication of Tuberculosis Transmission (SETT) (P15) TOUGH ON TB AND TOUGH ON THE CAUSES OF TB Background SETT was established in June 1997 by farmers in the South West of England and North StaVordshire following New Labour’s General Election victory. Prior to the formation of SETT the SW England representatives were invited to make a submission to the then “John Krebs” investigation prior to the publication of the Krebs Report. Briefly all SETT members somewhat realistically believe that bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is transmitted from badger to badger, badger to cattle, cattle to cattle and cattle to badger whilst organisations such as the NFBG do not! SETT members also believe that the Trials are largely a waste of time and money and are scientifically speaking—fundamentally flawed. Committee members will be all too aware of the arguments put forward by both sides and therefore these arguments will be left to others to repeat. However—the Committee must understand the current “political” position in which the New Labour Government finds itself if it is to justify any of its eVorts to help resolve the bTB debacle.

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SETT’s General Appraisal The New Labour government is not trusted by the farming/countryside sector; it is seen as anti-rural and the perception is that not one New Labour MP knows anything about the countryside and generally New Labour couldn’t care less about the countryside and its inhabitants. It appears that it has absolutely no one arguing the case for “things country”. New Labour’s legislation appears to be slowly but surely “culturally cleansing” the British countryside—with issues such as the right to roam, foot and mouth, severe animal movement restrictions with absolutely minimal border controls on illegal imported meat, bovine tuberculosis (inc the current Saltdean cock-up), hunting, etc. New Labour is also seen to be in hock to the “animal rights” folk with substantial donations and even Elliot Morley is on record (BBC) as saying that he hopes he is not in oYce when the results of the Krebs Trials are published! Specifically on bTB—farming/countryfolk witness the badger population growing exponentially and bTB along with it—cattle are put down, movements restricted but the most likely source (badger) is left alone to unwittingly carry on its carnage of cattle with the resultant catastrophic financial/economic impact on both farmers and nation. On Exmoor—sick deer that would normally be quickly hunted down are allowed to continue their pathetically sick lives in a LACS sanctuary—to contract bTB and recycle the disease throughout the locality—fact! The Way Forward The Government and more specifically DEFRA ministers fundamentally do not understand the countryside and even appears to be positively anti. The short- to medium-term solution to the bTB time bomb is not scientific—it is political! It requires a leadership that New Labour currently appears incapable of giving. The problem is not confined to just bTB—it is the way we manage the total flora and fauna of the countryside. We cannot allow the population of animals with no natural predators to go unchecked. Even otters are today being “blamed” for killing too many mink! The Proposal So—what’s the solution? What’s the radical proposal? What’s the way forward? What must be done and how do we go about it? Simple!! Publish the findings of the Trials to date—let the public debate commence. Preferably—Abandon the Trials. Establish (through legislation) Local Wildlife Management Committees populated with all stakeholders including the local hunts, farmer representatives (NFU?), RSPCA, NFBG, etc, depending on the nature of the locality. The local hunts would be licensed to hunt fox, deer etc as appropriate and also to trap and kill badgers as appropriate with “pro-badger” stakeholders participating in the monitoring and decision-making process on the understanding that badger bTB hotspot areas must be addressed—likewise local fox, deer, etc populations. This proposed solution would undoubtedly work and the Government would be seen to be leading, compromising with all parties, ensuring participation by all parties, etc. Certainly the cost-eVectiveness of this proposal is overwhelming—it will save many, many millions—each and every year hereafter—The Treasury would love it! Will the government do the right thing? Will it bite the bullet? Will it get real? SETT doesn’t think so! The genetic issue-fudging, indecisive, weak-kneed behaviour of consecutive governments will continue; the red hot anger of British country folk will boil over; the ever-widening chasm that lies between urban and rural folk will become deeper and progressively incapable of bridging. The time is NOW for politicians to stop talking and do something positive that scientists currently are incapable of solving. 30 January 2003 APPENDIX 16 Memorandum submitted by Christine Chester (P16) I note that an article in Farmers Guardian of January 2003 DEFRA is seeking written evidence from anyone with an interest Badgers/TB. I also note that oral evidence will come only from Ministers and senior oYcials of DEFRA, not from the farming community, the people at the “sharp end” who are suVering the

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financial losses, worry and extra work which a TB breakdown incurs. People who find it very distressing to see their cattle tossed on the scrap heap merely to keep certain politicians on their seats. Historically I am old enough to remember the TB eradication scheme of the 1950s. TB in cattle was considered to be a danger to the whole community, both bovine and human. I can remember children with TB bones, resulting from drinking milk from tuberculous cows. This eradication programme was costly needing double fencing of boundary fields and the filling in of ponds. It worked and both TT and Brucellosis were virtually eliminated from UK herds. Cattle were TT tested regularly and there was a strong network of the State Veterinary Service to implement the testing. This strong and eYcient SVS was later emasculated and reduced by the Government of the day. As a final insult many Animal Health matters were downgraded to a largely ignorant Trading Standards Department. However certain areas kept throwing odd cases of TB, I live in one of them Ipstones and Cheddleton. We remained on annual TT testing long after most other districts were tested every two years. Why? Look at the map. Steep heavily wooded valleys. We had a clean closed herd for over 45 years. If there was a TB breakdown in the district, the MAAF staV quietly and discreetly removed the source of the trouble ie local badger sett. However the world moves on and after a number of particularly nasty cases of badger baiting, the Law gave the badger 100% protection. The badger has no natural enemies (unless you include the motor car) and their numbers have greatly increased. Years ago many people had never seen a badger, they lived in the woods and as nocturnal they didn’t mix with humans. Today I will often see a badger in my headlights if I’m out at night and will sometimes see a dead badger on the grass verge. The popularity of wildlife programmes on TV and the Rolf Harris Animal hospital on TV have given the public a new perspective. In many ways this is excellent, but it avoids the fact that Nature is cruel, predators capture and eat their prey. It gives the public the idea that Nature equates with Paradise. Sadly the spin-oV from all these well-meaning policies is an overpopulation of badgers and a great increase in the incidence of TB in cattle. Over the past decade the Zuckermann Report, then the Dunnet Report and finally the Krebs Report have been submitted to the Ministry only to be filed away. These reports all indicated a connection between TB and the badger. But mindful of losing a seat in a General Election no Agriculture Minister had the decency to act on this information. A nation has reached a sad state when Politics is interfering with Science. They are separate entities and should not be mixed. This was a tactic of Soviet Russia and HMG should not stoop to such behavior. The telling statistics of the increase in cases of TB in cattle forced Her Majesty’s Government to look again at Prof Krebs Report, and playing for time took up the professors theory of dividing “hotspot” areas into triplets and noticing the eVects of TB over a period of several years. So we are divided one third control, one third only takes out badgers after a new outbreak of TB and one third take out all the badgers possible. Most unfortunately the FMD outbreak postponed most of this work. Here we are the proactive cull area and have witnessed two periods of badger trapping ie prior to FMD and in July 2002. The trappers and their police protection unit were excellent professionals and did their best under the circumstances . . . Unfortunately in high summer it is easy for anyone to find the traps, as with today’s expensive machinery the back swath is not mown and one only has to find the trampled long grass to lead to the badger traps. Here the “Activists” were busy destroying traps and putting up notices encouraging the public to report any information to them. The farming community also suspects that the Activists move live-trapped badgers and release them elsewhere. Nature reserves have been named. There are reports of both urban foxes and badgers being released in the Churnet Valley. So here we are in 2003 with a TB epidemic. One farmer under continuous restrictions for over three years. One moved cattle to Cheshire and took 100 reactors with him. A local organic herd has been destroyed and the late middle-aged farmer has to find a job. The tale of heart-ache, worry, and financial loss is endless. Obviously some types of farming suVer more loss than others: (a) beef farmers who can fatten their cattle have fewer problems, but have the important one of cash flow; (b) upland beef farmers with suckler herds who normally sell store cattle to be fattened in the lowlands have a terrible problem, especially in the winter months; (c) Dairy farmers who breed some or all of their cows to a beef bull have a problem, can they manage to house, feed, and finance these calves until they are clear of TB or do they have to have the calves shot and lose the income normally obtained on the sale of two to three week old calves; (d) Channel Island breeders normally have their bull calves shot soon after birth, so they do not have too big a problem, not until they wish to sell calving heifers. Rearing dairy breed heifers used to be a less demanding life for the older farmer, it is no longer so, due to the risk of TB breakdown. TT testing takes a long time, and there is all the paper work to be done as well, filling in columns of figures, ear tag numbers, age, breed, and sex. Cattle find it uncomfortable and they become diYcult and sometimes

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dangerous to handle. To make things worse, we now receive an unpleasantly worded letter from DEFRA telling us that the testing is funded from the public purse. So here we are in a crisis, which is the product of Government policy. How do we get out of it? How long do we have to wait for the results of the Krebs trials to be published? Will these results be merely a lot of fudge and waZe about Biosecurity? A very popular word Biosecurity. But how do you keep a badger out of a feed trough or a mineral lick container suitable for a twelve-month calf or a Dexter cow? There are at least two badger setts on this farm, possibly more. I can see their tracks where they cross the roads and get through the hedges. How could we possibly electric fence them out? Our neighbor was advised by DEFRA oYcials not to graze fields on which his heifers had contracted TB. He was advised to mow them, but the land is too steep to mow. So the next piece of advice was to buy some land where there are no badgers. Where does such a place exist in N.E.StaVordshire? I have been lucky in being able to visit New Zealand, a country where farming is appreciated and considered to be of national importance. Here aircraft to destroy the possums that carry TB and infect the cattle spreads 1080 poison pellets put into carrots. A completely diVerent attitude. Does Her Majesty’s Government want farming to continue in UK? At the back of my mind there is a story of a EU Conference where UK got Banking, Tourism, and Insurance on condition that agricultural production was reduced. Is that statement true? Or is the terrible epidemic of TB in cattle the result of Government policy only concerned with keeping urban MPs in their seats? One last thought. Recently I noticed a dead badger on the roadside verge. I rang the Local Authority and explained to the receptionist that I didn’t know which department I required to dispose of the carcass “REFUSE” she replied. 30 January 2003 APPENDIX 17 Memorandum submitted by the British Cattle Veterinary Association (P17) The BCVA is a specialist division of the British Veterinary Association comprising 1500 members of whom over 1000 are practising veterinary surgeons working with cattle in farm animal veterinary practice. In this respect a large number of our members come into direct contact with TB control policies as they aVect their client’s farms. BCVA are represented on the DEFRA TB Forum and are members of various stakeholder groups aVecting the industry. We are very grateful for the opportunity to submit comments to the EFRA Committee Review. BCVA has long held serious concerns regarding the current policies for TB control adopted by Government. These concerns have led to the development of a specific BCVA TB policy (attached [not printed]) that has been used extensively by the BVA in development of their own policy. The following comments address the particular points raised in Press notice No 10 of 2002–03 17 January 2003 session, and appear in the order. 1. The Impact of the Government’s Autumn Package of Measures for the Control of Bovine TB in Cattle on the Spread of Disease and on Farmers and Farming Increasing the severity of the test interpretation and increasing the level of contiguous testing was welcomed as step in the right direction for controlling the spread of TB infection in cattle. There is however great concern over the management of reactors once they have been identified. Reactor cattle remain on the farm too long after the test, increasing the possibility of further dissemination of infection and bringing into question the farmer’s confidence in the eradication process adopted by Government. The re-institution of the survey into PMs of badgers that have been killed in road traYc accidents is also welcomed, but we have major concerns over the lack of progression of this initiative. BCVA would support an extension of this survey nation-wide as an indicator of national disease spread. With TB spreading almost unchecked in areas of current infection and appearing in areas previously free of the disease for many years (eg Cumbria), BCVA are very concerned that further measures should be considered to halt this trend. BCVA are particularly supportive of enhanced biosecurity measures on farms to prevent the introduction of TB by cattle movement and have produced a “TB Quarantine and Test Protocol” to address this (attached), however we see little consideration of infection status of any cattle preor post-movement from a DEFRA point of view. Restrictions of farms with overdue TB tests is a move toward this but with four-year testing intervals of many farms in the country, infection can go unnoticed for

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some considerable time. The imposition of restrictions does not result in an immediate test however and infection could therefore remain unnoticed increasing risk of spread. BCVA have also suggested a risk approach to the categorisation of farms with respect to their TB status, and have created a specific herd health plan for cattle farms to be used in respect of all health problems on farms. BCVA welcome measures to investigate the practical use of the gamma-interferon blood test as a method of increasing TB testing sensitivity and improving the eradication speed of the infection from breakdown farms. 2. Progress in the Development of a Vaccine Over 10 years ago we were told that vaccination for bovine TB was 10 years away, and it seems that this is still the case. 3. Implications of Delays to the Krebs Trials Delays to the trials by virtue of FMD are reported to be minor. Of greater concern was the time slippage in the setting up of the triplets and other aspects that may aVect the results (perturbation, badger movement by protection groups, badger removal by disenchanted farmers). These confounding issues are likely to make the results of the trial highly questionable with opposite parties likely to entrench their position still further. We appreciate that the ISG has been faced with practical diYculties with the progress of the trials. However, there is a danger of research breeding more research from its results, with little if any useful progress being made in the formulation of TB control policy. 4. Government Response to the Recommendations of the Agriculture Select Committee The Government is placing a great deal of significance to the Krebs Trials despite the possible developments outlined above. The tone of the response seems to point towards a policy of toleration rather than eradication. To truly eradicate Mycobacterium bovis infection from the UK, a comprehensive approach to the removal of reservoirs of infection should be undertaken. To completely ignore that reservoir present in the wildlife population is a high risk policy in the short term. This is a very brief outline of the BCVA position regarding the current TB situation in cattle and wildlife in the UK, and a copy of this submission has been supplied to our parent organisation the BVA for consideration in the creation of their response. BCVA would be pleased to address the EFRA Committee by oral submission to outline our position further should that be required. 30 January 2003 APPENDIX 18 Memorandum submitted by Elizabeth Turner (P18) 1. I would like to make a number of crucial points relating to the Krebs badger culling trial to be taken into account in the government’s new inquiry into badgers and bovine tuberculosis. 2. I consider that there has been an absence of explanation or justification for the continuance of the trial in the face of extremely important and relevant factors that influence the scientific validity of the Krebs experiment. 3. The greatest of these is the interruption of both the culling trial and the TB cattle testing regime by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 4. Most crucially, the much greater incidence in bovine TB following the cessation of TB cattle testing in this period indicates that in fact the accurate and rigorous testing of cattle is essential for control of TB, without which the disease increases. This raises two important points, firstly this infers that cattle related measures reduce bovine TB, rather than killing badgers, supporting the fact that bovine TB is a cattle disease and should be treated as such. Secondly, if the cattle testing program has shown to be so important, surely it is crucial that the cattle test is accurate. In this case funds and resources should be directed towards this as a priority, in order to avoid infected cattle remaining in the field to re-infect the herd. Equally crucial is the fact that cattle were cooped up in sheds during foot and mouth disease, in conditions that typically allow TB to thrive and spread. This again infers cattle to cattle transmission at a time when contact with badgers would have been minimal. The considerable rise in bovine TB during this time is a fact that surely cannot be ignored when considering the causes of bTB. 5. The Krebs trial has of course also been severely complicated by the interruption of foot and mouth disease. In that period scientists have no idea how badger populations were changing or how the incidence of TB changed, either in badgers or cattle. With the rise in bovine TB that occurred, the potential for cattle to cattle transmission as well as cattle to badger transmission inevitably became higher, particularly once movement restrictions were lifted. This potential for spread of the disease would have been exacerbated by the backlog in cattle tests and the inaccuracy of the test. Any subsequent results indicating the level of TB in

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badgers therefore become meaningless with so many variables. As a result, the trial was at that point rendered a farce, as reported in the New Scientist in March 2002. In view of this, why did scientists and government not undertake a serious review of the TB control strategy rather than simply resuming the badger killing as if nothing had changed? It was clear that the experiment was severely compromised and at the same time the importance of controlling TB in cattle was highlighted. Instead of controlling bTB at that stage through continued movement restrictions, farmers were allowed to re-stock with cattle that may have been infected with TB because of the backlog of tests and unreliability of the test. It was business as usual, with cattle to cattle transmission a high risk and resumption of killing badgers despite the lack of meaning in any further trial results. 6. The high cost of continuing the trial both in economic terms and in the loss of life, is clearly unjustified when so many questions remained unanswered over the meaning of results, the reliability of cattle tests and the role of cattle to cattle transmission. The trial should therefore cease immediately. 7. I consider most strongly that resources would be much better spent on finding a cattle vaccine and a reliable cattle test than the further slaughter of badgers. I would also like to request that the government announce the escalating cost of the badger culling trial to taxpayers. It was reported in November 2000 in the Western Morning News that the cost of killing every badger was £7,000. Has this remained the same or increased? The government should be justifying such expenditure to the taxpayer with sound scientific information. 8. It is my belief that such scientific support for the trial is simply not there. Prior to foot and mouth disease, there were already significant variables that eVected the trial: refusal of landowners to allow the cull, ineYciency of killing operations, killing of badgers by farmers in no cull areas, interference by protesters and other factors. We are given to understand that all these variables and then the interruption by foot and mouth disease could be accounted for by statistics. However, no explanation has been forthcoming as to exactly how such manipulation of figures can be justified, to both the public and politicians and still represent meaningful results. When challenged at a meeting of the West Cornwall Badger Group in 2001, John Bourne was unable to explain this to the audience in simple terms. Statistics are of course not simple but if politicians are to understand the issues in basic terms in order to make decisions and the public are to be satisfied over expenditure of taxes, this is unsatisfactory. 9. In reality, the latest findings in science are indicating that natural ecosystems are not necessarily quantifiable by simply isolating certain factors of that ecosystem, as if in a laboratory. In other words, considering solely badgers and TB in a complicated and interacting ecosystem is not likely to provide predictable results. The study of the sciences of complexity in fact indicate that unpredictable and unforeseen consequences arise in ecosystems due to other variables that have not been accounted for. This clearly applies to the badger trial in view of the variables and inconsistencies already pointed out above and also the restricted scope of the trial. Krebs’ terms of reference were to focus solely on badgers and he admitted he had neither the time or expertise to consider other alternatives. The latest findings in science indicate that this is a severely flawed approach and therefore such isolated data are likely to be rendered meaningless. 10. I would like to raise some further important questions. What attention has been given to the discovery that TB can remain in the soil longer than originally thought? This is clearly an important source of reinfection to cattle herds. 11. The latest triplet in the south-west appears to be adjacent to two other triplets, ie east Cornwall and Putford. The government has not to date indicated what are the likely eVects on badgers and the ecosystem of eradicating large areas of badgers. Initially the areas of eradication were declared to be 100 km2 however now that three triplets are concentrated in the region around the Devon and Cornwall border, this could eVectively raise the area of eradication to 300 km2. This wholesale slaughter of thousands of animals in one region may eVect the genetic variability of the badger population and also have eVects on the rest of the ecosystem. Have these factors been considered at all by the government? 12. Lastly I would like to focus on the welfare of badgers during the culling trial. Since the cull resumed in May 2002, the weather has often been severe at times of killing. On contacting DEFRA, mixed responses have been received. In May 2002 during the cull in west Cornwall, there was heavy and persistent rain together with strong winds. Badger cubs just weeks old were found in traps completely drenched and covered in mud. The response from DEFRA was that flooding was the only consideration regarding continuation of trapping. Despite this, traps were found in muddy and flooded ditches. In October 2002, the weather was again severe during the cull in west Devon. On consulting DEFRA again, the response from Dawn Woodward quoting from the regulations was “Both temperature and wind chill must be taken into account. Long range weather forecasts should be used to assist in the planning of trapping exercises particularly during the run-up to the closed season”. Clearly this was a wholly diVerent response to that in May but perhaps closer to the truth. However at that time despite gale force winds, heavy rain, storm warnings and flooding, culling continued in the area, which was a clear breach of DEFRA regulations. Once again in December 2002, the weather was severe, this time sub zero temperatures and a significant wind chill factor. Trapping was suspended for one night when media interest focused on the weather but the cull resumed the following night, for several days and the following week despite the same sub zero temperatures. Again, this is a clear breach of DEFRA regulations.

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13. A further point on welfare, although the killing procedure has been investigated, the welfare of badgers overnight and for daylight hours until DEFRA operatives return to shoot badgers, has never been investigated. Badgers often injure themselves trying to dig out of the cage traps causing unacceptable animal suVering. 14. The last point on welfare relates to the closed season, which was reduced for the Krebs trial from six to three months. The Western Morning News reported in November 2002 that a tiny orphaned badger cub was found by a farmer in a field on 31 January. This illustrates that the current closed season of February to April is inadequate. Badgers born at this time in culling areas are being orphaned underground and starve to death while their lactating mothers become trapped and then shot in DEFRA’s cages. Pregnant sows are also being killed, as are few week old cubs in May. This reduction of the closed season simply for the purposes of this Krebs experiment is totally unacceptable and inadequate to prevent unnecessary suVering of cubs and pregnant or lactating sows. 15. These welfare issues should be made public, as are the issues currently on hunting and as were the facts relating to fur farming in Britain which was recently outlawed. However for some reason, the badger cull has not received the same attention either by scientists, politicians or the media. Similarly the issues surrounding the validity of continuing the trial should be more transparent to the public. 16. I believe the trial is now futile and meaningless in view of the issues that I have raised and that there is no justification for such loss of wildlife and welfare problems. I would appreciate the above points being taken into account and fully addressed in the government’s current inquiry and I would also request a detailed response the points raised. 17. I look forward to a response and I am also communicating my concerns to MPs in areas where the Krebs trial is taking place. 31 January 2003

APPENDIX 19 Memorandum submitted by John Sumner, Policy Adviser, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (P19) Press notice No. 10, session 2002–03 dated 17 January 2003 invited written submissions prior to the Committee’s review of recent developments. In a telephone call to your oYce I expressed concern over the relatively short notice given for submissions on this issue which is an extremely serious one for dairy farmers. I briefly describe below a number of points which the Committee may wish to take notice of in their deliberations:

Incidence The increasing number of incidents, and the rapid spread across the country, is causing considerable alarm amongst dairy farmers. In those areas aVected by foot and mouth disease (FMD), re-stocking of dairy farms has not controlled the spread of TB. There is a noteworthy development in relation to the incidence of disease. Until relatively recent years, the disease was limited to certain areas of the country, particularly the southwest. Now outbreaks of TB in cattle are springing up in most parts of the country, making it a national issue. Cattle have been moved around the country throughout this period without any clear evidence of cattle to cattle transmission has been the cause of disease spread. The role of the badger in this development cannot easily be discounted.

Testing It is recognised that FMD has resulted in a backlog of herds to be tested. Furthermore as the disease spreads across the country the testing programme becomes confused in that adjacent counties can have diVerent testing intervals. In such cases, good communication by government oYcials and local farmers is vital and in some areas, requires improvement.

Animal Movements The controlled relaxation of cattle movements has helped to allow businesses in many areas a measure of freedom to operate more eVectively. Whilst that has been important in these very diYcult financial times, it is recognised that there may be an implication for disease spread. However, we urge that the relaxation within controls be allowed to continue. On farms where severe movement restrictions applied, overcrowding of stocksheds became a serious issue with consequences for animal welfare and in particular increasing the risk of the spread of other diseases within such herds.

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The existence of TB in herds with the consequential restrictions does have a seriously negative impact on businesses and limits new initiatives and opportunities. In those areas with a high incidence of disease, and where it appears that little is being done to remove the likely sources, farmers currently unaVected believe it is “only a matter of time” before their herds also become infected. Krebs Trial The Government’s opposition to any form of selective cull of badgers in those areas where TB is rife is a matter of great concern. To await all the results of the Krebs trial due in 2004 is, in the Associations view, questionable bearing in mind the current rate of disease spread. By the time action is taken, the number of infected herds is likely to be far greater than now and the cost of dealing with the national problem will have increased substantially. RABDF is very aware of public concern over the need to protect badgers and the emotional outcry that would accompany any partial culling programme but urges the Committee to consider the overall national priority. The Select Committee is no doubt aware of the reports from certain areas of the country where “animal rights” groups are allegedly interfering with the trials. If such reports are accurate, trial results will at best be delayed and at worst misleading. For most in the farming industry, the evidence implicating the role of badger in the spread of TB is well made. The Government’s current course of action is unsatisfactory and likely to lead to financial and personal disaster for many farmers around the country. Vaccination It appears to be generally accepted that availability of an eVective vaccine is 10–15 years away although some pharmaceutical companies would argue that a shorter time scale is achievable. Government is urged to increase the investment to develop an eVective vaccine with the utmost speed. The industry cannot however “tread water” until vaccination becomes possible and the Government is again urged to take actions now. It is not acceptable to have information available as exists in the case of the badger and TB in cattle, and not to act upon it. The Committee is encouraged to review the Irish trial, which has involved selective badger culling and inoculation with promising results. Veterinary surgeons in large animal practices have noted a potential relationship between the cattle disease BVD and the presence of TB. The BVD virus, an aids-type virus, is fairly common in dairy herds with the eVect of depressing the immune system of aVected animals. Relatively eVective vaccines are available but many herds have an underlying level of infection. Anecdotal observations have associated an increased incidence of TB in BVD aVected dairy herds. The Select Committee may consider raising the matter with DEFRA’s Animal Health Group with a view to investigating the BVD status of dairy herds in TB areas. Summary These few points hopefully indicate, albeit briefly, the very serious concerns of dairy farmers and the belief that the problem will get far worse before Government take additional actions. The disease of TB in cattle could be eradicated if Government saw fit to provide the necessary finance and support as, for example, it did with BSE. Eradication of TB in both cattle and badgers should be the goal. 31 January 2003 APPENDIX 20 Memorandum submitted by Mr James Hitchon (P20) My concerns about TB come from the problems that we have experienced from our dairy farm. Our pedigree herd of Holstein Friesians has been closed down with TB, on and oV, for the last seven years. 1. We have had to put up with continuous testing and removal from our pedigree herd of animals while very little is done to control and test the problem in the wildlife surrounding our farm. 2. The value of our stock is reduced as we have lost our market in the northern part of the country because buyers are reluctant to purchase from an area such as ours (regardless of whether our animals have passed the test recently). 3. Stock numbers have increased substantially because we have had the movement restriction imposed on us. This means that we can not cull and sell, as we used to before the problems arose. 4. We have been forced to purchase quota in order to match the increased milk production, from the muchincreased cattle numbers.

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5. Keeping more animals has increased our work-load. We can not aVord to employ any additional staV as we are a family run business. 6. We have had to build a new shed to house all the additional animals. 7. We feel that the value of our farm has been reduced because those interested in purchasing a farm would be discouraged from purchasing in our area, because of the TB problems. 8. We used to show our animals at shows quite regularly, but we were prevented from doing this with the movement restrictions imposed by TB. Therefore we have lost one of our main ways of advertising the herd. 9. We have needed to grow more forage crops to feed the extra animals and have therefore reduced our arable acreage. 10. The actual testing of the herd involves two whole days in a week, every 60 days. This is very time consuming, and we have needed to employ people to come and help us on these days. 31 January 2003 APPENDIX 21 Memorandum submitted by the RSPCA (P21) 1. Introduction 1.1 Despite the terms of reference of the trial and the accompanying work of the TB Forum, the focus of bTB control still remains largely focused on killing badgers. This is despite the establishment of the TB Forum and its husbandry and biosecurity subgroup, the commissioning of a livestock husbandry report and the release of a number of publications to farmers relating to herd management and biosecurity measures designed to help to control the disease. 1.2 There has also been pressure from some agencies to initiate a culling policy outside of the trial areas. In its second report to the Minister, the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) documented in Appendix E, the reasons why pre-emptive culling outside trial areas would be inconsistent with the objectives and methodology of the trial programme. 1.3 Recently commissioned DEFRA research by the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge into the risks of bovine tuberculosis breakdowns in cattle outside the badger trial areas concluded that there were six possible reasons why TB could have spread to these areas. One of these included that there was evidence but not proof, that wildlife may be acting as a reservoir host for bovine tuberculosis in these areas. Hence pursuing the idea of culling outside of trial areas would appear to be an untenable position, given the evidence. 1.4 There are still fundamental questions which remain unanswered, for example, — why one cow in a herd reacts to the tuberculin test and another does not? — is the advice given by DEFRA eVective? — has the advice given by DEFRA been eVectively implemented? — the influence of diseases such as Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) on the immune systems of animals and the implications for them becoming TB reactors; — why is it that on two adjoining farms, where the sett spans both farms, one herd will get some reactors and the other herd will not. 1.5 A contract to formally audit the uptake of existing TB advice in order to determine the best way of getting advice across to farmers was put on hold as a result of foot and mouth disease. It is unclear whether this contract has been carried out since the end of the foot and mouth outbreak. One criticism is that farmers cannot aVord to wait until the end of the trial before any action is taken. 1.6 There are however a number of things which farmers can do before the end of the trial, for example: — prevent the introduction of disease onto the farm by purchasing/selecting disease free animals as much as possible; — minimising the contact between wildlife and cattle, for example, by changing grazing patterns; — ensure that on-farm biosecurity is given due consideration; — minimise the contact between cattle of neighbouring farms. 2. The Impact of the Government’s Autumn Package of Measures for the Control of Bovine TB in Cattle on the Spread of the Disease and on Farmers and Farming 2.1 The ability of non-reactor cattle to move oV of farms which would normally be under movement restrictions has to be welcomed as it has enabled farmers to operate more eYciently and reduces the risk of cattle to cattle transfer occurring on that particular farm. However, the relatively poor sensitivity of the

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intradermal test means that the risk still remains on the receiving farm. This coupled with long periods between tests, could mean that some bTB infected cattle remain undetected. 2.2 There also has to be a planned strategy for every animal coming onto the farm. This must be made a priority. This strategy must include isolating the animals and testing and vaccinating them for a range of diseases. Such a policy should be a part of a farm specific written animal health plan. On-farm biosecurity is also important, although there is evidence to suggest that it is not always given the attention which it deserves. 3. Progress on the Development of a Vaccine 3.1 The issue of vaccine development is extremely complex and should not be seen as a short -term remedy in terms of disease control. However, even though success cannot be guaranteed in this area of research, it does need to be pursued as a legitimate policy option. Deciding whether to vaccinate cattle or wildlife is just one of the factors which has to be taken into consideration, remembering that a wildlife vaccine will only be eVective if most cattle TB infections are derived from wildlife. 4. The Implications of the Delays to the Krebs Trial 4.1 Foot and Mouth disease in 2001 has played a significant role in creating a backlog of herds which have not been routinely tested for TB. This is particularly serious in areas which are known to be TB hotspots. The eVect of this would be that as testing has resumed, there has been an increase in the number of breakdowns, which is not unsurprising. At the 10th TB Forum in October 2002, Professor Bourne stated that the reactive element of the trial was being delayed because of the delays in the TB testing programme and he anticipated that this delay could not be completely recovered. The proactive culling element of the trial was going as planned. 4.2 It has been reported at previous Forum meetings that the TB99 questionnaire work was not being completed as required, and that it was also necessary to get the Road TraYc Accident (RTA) survey back on track. Previously, the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) had highlighted the importance that they attach to the information on farms with TB breakdown. 4.3 The overall implications of delays in obtaining data from the various aspects of the trial could lead to insuYcient data to analyse. Having a partial data set may impinge upon the interpretation of the data. 5. Gamma Interferon 5.1 The RSPCA welcomes the trial of the Gamma Interferon Test, which has a higher sensitivity and a lower specificity than the conventional tuberculin test. The RSPCA would strongly urge the government to use this test in conjunction with the single intradermal skin test which is estimated to be only 75–90% eVective. 6. Conclusion 6.1 There appears to be a paucity of up-to-date information on the DEFRA website, and so it is diYcult to know the current situation with regard to the various aspects of the trial. A number of questions need to be asked with regard to this in order to clarify the situation. 6.2 The results of the trial may yield much in the way of ambiguity. Hence, it is vitally important to have a plan to manage the disease, based on a veterinary risk assessment. This needs to be up and running before the end of the trial. At Ministerial level it has been previously stated that there will not be any mass culling of badgers, whatever the outcome of the trial results, and hence pursuing such a policy will only serve to undermine the trial. 31 January 2003 APPENDIX 22 Memorandum submitted by the Country Land and Business Association (P22) 1. Introduction We welcome the opportunity to submit evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs Committee for its inquiry into badgers and bovine tuberculosis (TB). We have been concerned about this issue for many years in light of the devastating implications for farm businesses of TB breakdowns and the animal welfare implications of bovine TB for both cattle and badgers. Concerns among the industry continue to grow apace and we are coming under increasing pressure from many acutely worried farmers who see the increasing levels of bovine TB breakdowns and fear for the very viability and sustainability of their farm businesses. Their fears are fully justified. There is little assurance from Government to those in an already struggling industry that its ultimate aim is to eradicate TB within this country from all potentially infectious species.

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The CLA is very concerned not only about the welfare issues where cattle and badgers are infected by bovine TB, but also about the economic and social eVects on farmers. These include blight on property values, the long-term costs to businesses which have built up productive and highly valuable pedigree herds over a lifetime, the costs of restrictions on stock movements, and the uncertainty about present or future infection in herds. Cattle farming, particularly dairying, on farms where repeat TB breakdowns occur, can become both financially and practically almost impossible. Where this is the case investment made in farm infrastructure may be rendered of little value and overall the capital base of the farm severely depleted. The statistics relating to the number of herd TB incidences, the number of cattle slaughtered and the length of time individual holdings are under restrictions will be well known to the members of the Inquiry. There is no doubt that there have been significant increases although we are well aware that the 2002 figures are not truly representative due to the Foot and Mouth disease epidemic which disrupted the routine testing in 2001 leaving a large carry over of outstanding TB tests. 2. Impact of the Government’s Autumn Package of Measures for the Control of Bovine TB in Cattle on the Spread of the Disease and on Farmers and Farming The licensed movement oV farm of non-reactor cattle, in certain specified circumstances The relaxation of movement restrictions is a welcome step and will improve the situation on farms, which have been locked up on breakdowns for a long time. However, it is early days and the operation of these relaxations will need to be carefully assessed both for the value to farmers and to the potential risk of disease spread. The imposition of movement restrictions on herds with overdue tests We have supported this proposal to enable the TB testing regime to recover the lost ground due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. We would be very concerned if interruptions of this nature were to reoccur. A pilot project to assess the eVectiveness of the gamma interferon blood test in detecting bovine TB The CLA believes there is great value in introducing the new gamma interferon blood tests (along with the current skin test) more widely. We are disappointed in the delays which have occurred and about the two years scheduled as needed to undertake the pilot. The establishment of an industry group to monitor progress in implementing the new measures The CLA welcomes the establishment of the group to enable industry in its full width to bring its concerns to open forum. But the industry group must establish working relationships with the TB Forum, particularly, in how its advice is reported to the Forum together with DEFRA’s responses. We have yet to see this. 3. The Implications of the Delays to the Krebs Trial The CLA fully supports the Krebs trials and took that message of support to its branches in order to secure cooperation amongst the farming and landowning community. In many ways Krebs represents our most important means of setting a future strategy for TB control. It is imperative that the trial is brought to a robust and speedy conclusion and data is assembled to provide Government with information on which to base its future policy. However, we do have serious concerns at the delays, which have aVected the trial and the impact these delays and indeed the disruptions which have beleaguered the trial, will have on its robustness and therefore the acceptability of its conclusions. It is therefore essential that the trial continues to receive a full allocation of resources. It is vital that Government now devises a disease management strategy to be put in place if the Krebs trials produce inconclusive results. It is not acceptable for Government to then enter into further extensive and time-demanding similar trials. Bearing in mind the significant increased intensity and geographical spread of bovine TB it is beholden upon Government that strategies should now be devised to meet all the various scenarios likely to arise from the results of the Krebs trial. The CLA through its representation on the TB Forum has been pressing for this work to be done but has seen little reaction to this concern. 4. TB Testing Regime We recognise that the current priority should rightly remain addressing the backlog of TB tests and as mentioned above we supported the decision to impose movement restrictions on herds with overdue tests within the framework of the Autumn package.

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Defra must make the resources, both manpower and funding, available to complete the essential work of addressing this backlog. However, we also believe there would be great benefit in providing farmers with the opportunity to bring their statutory TB tests forward should they have concerns about the disease status of their animals or those on surrounding farms or of wildlife on their land. The most appropriate person to grant such a request would be the Divisional Veterinary Manager of the local Animal Health OYce who would, in discussion with the farmer, be able to assess the local disease situation and then consider the concerns of the farmer. This would provide a level of assurance to the farming community while awaiting the reporting of the Krebs trial and a future TB control strategy. We have also proposed that beyond the statutory test schedule TB testing should be available to cattle farmers on a flexible and “as requested basis”. This could go a long way towards providing reassurance that cattle are clear of TB prior to herd movements or where a particular event has occurred where TB may be seen as an imminent threat. We are aware that resources are finite and as such understand the necessity for prioritisation of this “on call” testing in disease hot spots. From a long-term disease control or elimination angle, this more widespread testing using the knowledge and awareness of the farmer would be most beneficial. Such an extension of testing could, as we explained, be a temporary measure, (and thus a shortterm draw on resources which should provide for a long-term gain in reduced reactor cattle), until the Krebs trials have reported and decisions reached about a future strategy.

5. Restocking after FMD While we are not aware of the exact current figures we consider it necessary that DEFRA make full use of the data relating to the number of TB breakdowns detected following a restocking process. Such incidences of TB have major implications for disease entry into local cattle and wildlife and the inherent problems of a wildlife reservoir being established.

6. Routine TB Testing We believe it is necessary to avoid grouping routine tests on an area or parish basis which has been occurring recently. Testing should be planned so that all parishes are sampled on a regular basis within the testing frequency schedule for that particular area. This procedure will ensure that no parishes are left untested for months or years before the next routine statutory test.

7. Using Experience from Abroad We have urged Government on a number of occasions to continue to watch and assess bovine TB scientific research and evidence in other countries. Reporting of this information and any assessment should be made available to the TB Forum. Ireland has a disease and badger situation which is not too dissimilar from the UK and it has been apparent that information from the Republic may not have been available or taken into consideration.

8. Biosecurity Issues There can be no doubt that biosecurity measures are vital in safeguarding herds against TB. We recognise the consideration in the consultation on DEFRA’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy on the uptake and role of herd health plans and a forthcoming consultation on a requirement for farmers to consult a vet at least annually for advice about disease detection and farm health plans of which biosecurity forms an essential part. It is essential that herd health plans are done on a farm by farm basis as each farm will have specific needs with regard to biosecurity. We believe that there will be great value in introducing through Defra funding an extended and freely available series of biosecurity advice visits to farmers under TB restrictions and also to those farms within the areas more at risk to TB breakdowns and ultimately to all cattle farms. The aim of the service would be to enable a vet to spend advisory time on a farm to discuss biosecurity issues with particular reference to TB both with regard to cattle to cattle transmission and any wildlife or third party vector. It would be highly preferable that it was the farms own vet as it is that person who has close knowledge of the farm, is aware of the local conditions and most importantly will be involved in any disease outbreak. Two of the main objectives would be to reinforce the partnership between farmer and vet and also to ensure that a TB transmission is prevented if at all possible. Such a service would be immensely valuable to all farmers, presently suVering severe economic problems, where a disease breakdown is prevented or curtailed. As a consequence of the low margins in animal production many producers may be inclined to delay or cancel advisory veterinary visits. Such a service should provide meaningful progress in addressing the spread of TB and farm biosecurity and animal welfare in general.

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9. Vaccination Against Bovine TB We believe the Inquiry should demand that Government undertakes a close review of DEFRA’s programme aimed at vaccine research and development. Both cattle and badgers must be considered as vaccination candidates in any attempt to control and eliminate bovine TB. We remain greatly concerned that if a cattle vaccine only is favoured and no work is undertaken on controlling the disease in wildlife then an incomplete level of control will only ever be achieved. Within the Central Science Laboratory there are facilities available to enable experimental work to be done on captive badgers. Work has been done on delivery mechanisms for vaccines to wildlife in the field. The value of this work should not be overlooked. It appears to be universally accepted that vaccination is the longer term sustainable strategy to control TB and therefore the Government should further fund or incentivise research work either through it’s own teams or through private companies or individuals to bring the extensive work already completed to a successful conclusion. A vaccine trial in the field should be established as soon as suitable candidate vaccines are available. 10. Road Traffic Accident Survey It is bitterly disappointing that the RTA survey was delayed for varying reasons for so long as this represented a loss of vital disease information Although the survey is now up and running we would urge that it is extended beyond the areas where it currently operates to areas where disease is suspected or appearing. 11. TB 99 We believe the TB99 Form and its analysis is of immense importance. We recognise the complexity of the form and would wish to see its simplification. However we would be concerned if in its simplification valuable data essential to future control strategies was lost. We would urge that resources are made available so that veterinary or DEFRA staV with sound knowledge of the agricultural operations in the locality is available to assist the farmer in completing the form. 12. Conclusion We would wish to urge Government to be open to display its determination to control this disease and to enter a working partnership across the broad spectrum of stakeholders and in particular cattle farmers to devise a strategy which controls and then ultimately eradicates this serious disease. 31 January 2003 APPENDIX 23 Memorandum submitted by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (P23) Thank you for your letter of 17 January inviting the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to submit evidence for the Committee’s further inquiry. Our comments on the issues raised by the Committee are below. Autumn package of measures: licensed movement oV farm of non-reactor cattle in specified circumstances The previous movement restrictions always caused considerable economic damage to TB-restricted farms. There were also a considerable number of occasions where welfare problems emerged from overcrowding because farmers were forced to keep animals which normally would have been sold and for which they had no permanent accommodation. The licensed movement oV such farms of non-reactor cattle in the specified circumstances is sensible, should not significantly increase the risk of spread of TB and should prevent possible welfare problems. One of our Council members has commented: “These measures are being successfully used in the west country. The SVS have been extremely helpful in the process. The result is that a number of farmers with long standing problems have been able to move cattle. As far as I am aware there have been little problems with moved animals subsequently testing positive to TB.” Autumn package: imposition of movement restrictions on herds with overdue tests This would have the full support of the veterinary profession. Because of the long list of overdue tests following foot and mouth disease the delay in implementing this rule is reasonable. It is too early to be able to measure the eVect. It is encouraging to note that the number of overdue tests is falling, as predicted, and it is hoped to be cleared by the spring. (The Veterinary Record of 26 October 2002 printed a letter from the Presidents of RCVS and of the British Veterinary Association urging practices which act as Local Veterinary

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Inspectors for DEFRA to take a number of steps to help clear the overdue tests.) The veterinary profession has co-operated fully to reduce the backlog as fast as possible, bearing in mind the reluctance of many farmers to have their animals tested during the summer months.

Autumn package: gamma interferon pilot study We welcome the introduction of this test and the pilot study. However it should be noted that the test will not be the panacea we are all seeking. It still suVers from relatively poor sensitivity, so it will not detect all animals incubating TB. It will however detect a small number that are not detected by the skin test. As the Irish have discovered it should have a role in herds that appear to be chronically infected and repeatedly suVer a small number of reactors or inconclusive reactors and consecutive tests.

Autumn package: establishment of industry group The group has met and provided a useful forum for discussing the changes in the control measures. There was however a sense of frustration that the problem was fast getting worse with no hope on the horizon of any real measures to control the disease.

Progress on the development of a vaccine As far as we know there have been no significant developments. There have been claims in the Farmers Weekly recently that some pharmaceutical companies could speed up the development of a vaccine, given the right financial incentive by Government. We are not in a position to comment on these reports except to say that pharmaceutical companies worldwide are carrying out research into vaccines for TB in humans and if any prove successful this will help in the search for a vaccine against bovine TB.

Implications of the delays to the Krebs trial This is cause for serious concern because there will inevitable be delays before the results are finally known. Furthermore many herds in the trial areas were culled out with foot and mouth disease and with no activity for 12 months there is a real danger that anything gained in the first two years might have been lost because of badger re-population. As we have stated in previous submissions we believe that there is an urgent need for a “Plan B” and this suggestion has been ignored by DEFRA. The large increase in the number of infected farms during 2002 just confirms our previous worries and the need for urgent alternative action is greater now than ever so that the increase in incidence that is happening year on year can at least be minimised. There are a number of herds in the FMD areas that were not culled, were subject to strict biosecurity rules and moved no cattle onto the farm for nearly a year, yet when they received their first TB test following the removal of movement restrictions they suVered TB reactors. There are many rumours of farmers illegally removing badgers following a positive TB test and we are concerned that if this is true it will adversely aVect the statistical robustness of the trial.

The Government’s response to the recommendations of the Agriculture Committee There are two areas on which we would like to comment. First, paragraph 15 of the Government’s memorandum referred to its examination of the possible health risks from the consumption of meat from animals with evidence of infection. The Government appears intent on relying entirely on scientific advice before a decision is made on salvaging carcasses derived from TB reactors for human consumption. We believe this is an area where public perception is likely to prove more important than scientifically based evidence. While it is dangerous to ignore advice based on scientific evidence, in this case the potential risks to the beef industry far outweigh the income from the salvage of such carcasses. We hear anecdotes that some milk purchasing companies and even one retailer have tried to refuse to collect milk from restricted herds. We are not aware of the outcome if these stories are correct. Secondly, the Agriculture Committee noted that the possibility that the Krebs trial might not produce a clear result and urged Ministers to recognise that the trial might have to be extended or some Plan B found. There appears to be no progress toward developing and testing such a plan before the results of the trial are known. This topic has been ongoing in the TB Forum as long as the Forum itself but is always met with resistance from DEFRA oYcials and the conservationist representation on the Forum. With the serious increase in the incidence of bovine TB, the spread into areas of the country which were previously unaVected and the inevitable delays caused by foot and mouth disease the need for a Plan B is now greater than ever. 30 January 2003

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APPENDIX 24 Memorandum submitted by John and Linda Chamberlayne (P24) We have a dairy farm with 100 cows and followers. Our farm is badly aVected by TB. Until August 2000 we cannot remember having TB on our farm for 30! years. We then had an outbreak that lasted to February 2001 then had another outbreak in January 2002 which is ongoing. In total we have lost 42 animals, 38 of the milking/in calf heifers. We are convinced this is linked to the badger problem because: 1. The river flooded and flooded out the badger sets, our badgers that had been on our farm in all probability drowned as it was a flash flood and we believe were replaced by badgers that we believe were infected with TB (as there was already TB on neighbours farms); 2. We have seen badgers that are ill on our farm, having found a dead one in one of our buildings; 3. Our neighbours have found ill badgers on their farms as well. We have taken steps to minimise the risk eg putting water tanks up on blocks, not putting feed onto the ground and fencing oV the badger sets. It is a dereliction of duty by DEFRA not to tackle the problem in the wildlife. It is no good only taking out half of a problem. Our animals will continue to go down with TB if this policy continues, as every time they go out to grass they run the risk of being exposed to the TB disease. We find it a problem being shut with TB as we have to keep many more calves than we would normally do, but the main problem is not being allowed to restock when cows are taken with TB. At the moment farmers are only allowed to restock after one clear test but that can take many months if not years (we have had TB for over a year and it is still ongoing although we have had one clear test within in this time) and by that time having lost a great many animals as in our case. Not being allowed to restock will cause great hardship both mentally and financial in paying bills and paying rent. It is hard seeing animals go to slaughter that look perfectly healthy (and when test results come back prove to be negative) but add to that financial worry as well and it will cause even greater problems for the family. Possible future legislation on quote eg 70% usage rule or risk having the quota confiscated could be a big problem to dairy farmers shut up with TB and not allowed to restock, as these farmers will not be producing the milk as necessary to fulfil quota regulations. Something the Government will have to address. The Government cannot keep waiting for the Krebs trial to be completed, it must take action now especially in hot spots such as ours in Gloucestershire. The Irish seem to be further ahead on their trials, could we not use their findings? Thank you for giving us this opportunity to address the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs Committee. 31 January 2003 APPENDIX 25 Memorandum submitted by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (P25) Introduction The Farmers’ Union of Wales welcomes the invitation to submit written evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs Committee on the subject of badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis. Background 1. The FUW is profoundly concerned at the increasing number of cattle herds in Wales which are testing positive for TB, a situation which continues to deteriorate with the passage of time and threatens the viability of many cattle holdings. There has been a marked increased in incidence post 1997, corresponding with the discontinuation of the Dunnet Strategy and Advisory Committee. 2. Independent scientific reviews conducted under the Chairmanship of Lord Zuckerman in 1980, and by Professor Dunnet in 1986, both concluded that there was a positive link between TB in badgers and in cattle. The Zuckerman enquiry was conducted against a background where 28 new herds had tested positive for TB in Great Britain, and the Dunnet enquiry was completed in 1986, a year in which there were 32 herd breakdowns. Latest available statistics show that in the period 1 January to 30 November 2002, 258 new incidents of TB were confirmed in Wales alone, with a total of 1,469 Great Britain wide. 3. Our members are entirely convinced, on the basis of their practical experience and in the light of past scientific enquiries, that there is a link between TB in badgers and the transmission of the disease to cattle. It was conclusively shown in the early 1980s that the “clean ring” strategy which involved the elimination of badgers within a defined breakdown zone reduced the incidence of TB in cattle. This eVect was subsequently re-aYrmed by the Thornbury Research Programme which showed that when badgers where wholly excluded from a defined area, the incidence of TB in cattle declined.

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4. The FUW welcomed the instigation of a further independent scientific review into TB in cattle under the chairmanship of Professor John Krebs in the belief that this would provide a clear strategy for dealing with TB in cattle and badgers. Despite the Krebs review conclusion “that the sum of evidence strongly supports the view that, in Britain, badgers are a significant source of TB infection in cattle”, Government proposals stemming from the report did nothing to tackle the immediate economic and welfare consequences which result from the increasing incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis. 5. Publicity over possible transmission of Bovine TB to humans, particularly infants, together with a very real risk that the UK’s TB-free status is now in jeopardy, further reinforces the need to take urgent action on this issue. The Krebs Report states, in paragraph 1.2.11, “However, a number of factors underline the importance of guarding against complacency in assessing the potential threat of Bovine TB to human health, including the considerations set out below: (i) current increases in disease in cattle may be causing asymptomatic human infections capable of reactivation in later life; (ii) there is an increasing number of immuno-compromised individuals (those infected with HIV, for example) with enhanced susceptibility to infection, including to Bovine TB; (iii) strains of M.Bovis resistant to known drugs have developed and have caused recent outbreaks of fatal human disease in other countries. 6. In its submission responding to the Government’s proposals stemming from the Krebs report, the Union highlighted the fact that the proposed culling trial would, by definition, take at least five years to provide conclusive results, during which time farmers outside the trial areas would have no means of controlling an escalating badger population. The proposed time-span has now been further delayed by outside interference to the trial areas and the foot and mouth standstill period. These two factors are likely to add another two and a half years to the trial’s completion date. Whilst the FUW has registered concern that the Krebs trial period eVectively represents a period of vacuum during which there have been spiralling TB incidences, we, nevertheless, recognise that this study is import, and have been disappointed by the disruptive action of those who are seemingly afraid of the report’s conclusions. 7. Surveys have shown a substantial increase in the badger population over the past 20 years. The experience of our members has been of a steady increase in badger numbers, with badger setts having been reported in areas where previously there were none. The apparent increase in the number of dead badgers on road-sides following accidents with motorised vehicles provides circumstantial evidence which also lends credence to the notion that the badger population continues to increase unabated. 8. The badger population survey undertaken by Professor Harries of Bristol University compared badger numbers in the period November 1985 and early 1988 with those recorded in a period between October 1994 and January 1997. The results showed that, nationally, annexe setts had increased by 87%, subsidiary setts by 54%, and outlying setts by 55%, whereas the umber of disused main setts had declined by 41%. These increases had occurred in most regions including those which showed little or no change in the number of badger social groups. The total number of all types of sett had increased by some 43%. 9. There is no evidence to suggest that an eVective vaccine will be available during the next 15 to 20 years. The development of a test to distinguish infected from vaccinated animals would be an essential component ´ of any vaccine development programme, and the Bacilic Calmette Guerin (BCG) test does not appear to have any real application in cattle. 10. The FUW has argued that any vaccination programme should therefore continue to focus on the development of a vaccine to protect badgers against TB. Vaccination strategies have been phased out for diseases such as foot and mouth, and trade experience shows that a control programme based on vaccination would be likely to undermine future exports of breeding cattle from the UK. A programme of vaccination for those herds aVected by TB could also lead to a situation where farms became blighted and stock rendered worthless without actually tackling the underlying causal problems of TB. The Krebs report also notes that this course of action could lead to the selection of strains of M.Bovis which are resistant to vaccine. 11. A cattle vaccination programme could only be countenanced, therefore, in the event of the development of an eVective diagnostic test capable of diVerentiating between infected and vaccinated animals. There must also be clear evidence which shows that UK exports would not be jeopardised through the use of such control techniques. The UK cattle industry cannot be sacrificed in a bid to sustain an ever expanding badger population. Until such time as there is an eVective strategy to control the spread of bovine TB, there must be adequate provision to ensure the management of a sustainable, healthy badger population. 12. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 must provide a basis for licensing removal operations in circumstances where badgers are shown to be causing significant problems for the agricultural industry. Given the results of Professor Harries’ study into badger numbers, many farmers are questioning the extent to which the badger population will be allowed to grow before any control measures are sanctioned. Questions also arise over the impact of TB on the badger population and the long term consequences for the species of TB infection. 13. During early 2002, the FUW, recognising that the Krebs conclusions would not be available until at least 2005, put forward a number of suggestions to stem the spiralling incidence of TB during the interim period:

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— that the EU recommendation on inconclusive animals be adopted, with cattle testing as inconclusive on the second skin test removed, with full compensation payable to the producer; — that in hot-spot areas, farmers should be able to request the removal of inconclusive reactors following the first test with full compensation payable; — that in hot-spot areas, the Gamma Interferon Test should be used as an adjunct to the TB skin test. In recommending this course of action, the Union accepted that resources were a limiting factor and suggested that this strategy should be used in parishes where there had been annual testing for a minimum of three years. — that those parishes selected should follow a regime whereby all reactors and inconclusives where removed following the first skin test. All cattle testing negative following a skin test would then be subject to a Gamma Interferon test some thirteen to thirty days later. Following the removal of any positives, the herd, following a short interval, would be subject to a second skin test. This approach is in line with the framework outlined in the pilot study report, TB F62, and would provide a means of addressing the unacceptably long restriction periods which apply on farms suVering TB breakdowns. — in situations where the likely source of an outbreak was from wildlife, the FUW also recommended that provision should be made for the wildlife species to be tested for TB. 14. Whilst the FUW welcomed the Government’s acceptance that in order to control the spread of TB, additional measures should be put in place, the detail contained within this package, together with the speed of implementation, have proved disappointing. The FUW believes that the case for using the Gamma Interferon blood test has been made and the experience of other countries eliminates the need for a scientific protocol to demonstrate whether the use of GIFN clears infection from herds more quickly than the use of the normal skin interpretation. 15. The Union is also concerned that the positive measure which allows the movement of animals to other farms under certain circumstances should not be regarded as a long term solution to the current problems. The FUW is determined that control measures should be designed to ensure a healthy badger population and a healthy cattle population, and that greater account needs to be taken of past controls strategies in order to combat the spiralling incidence of the disease. The experience of the past five years has shown that to do nothing is not an option, and the FUW does not wish to see a series of measures being put in place which merely allow farmers to live as best they can with an ever deteriorating disease situation. 16. The significant increase in TB breakdowns has also lead insurance companies to review their TB insurance cover. These companies are now very reluctant to take on any new business and are also wary of all requests for an increase in the sum insured on an existing risk. Farmers who have obtained TB insurance in the past now find that the rates are increasing substantially and are subject to a minimum premium level. 17. There have been suggestions that the increased number of TB cases is due to the concentration of cattle into larger herds. This is a national phenomenon and is certainly not limited to those areas which are subject to the greatest increase in TB breakdowns. Furthermore, despite the Draconian movement restrictions which existed during 2001 and 2002, the statistic show that TB incidence has continued to increase unabated. 18. The FUW is also concerned that there should be no confusion over the valuation procedure for TB reactors. The value of the animals is determined by two professional valuers—one appointed directly by DEFRA and the other (representing the farmer) appointed from a list which has been subject to prior approval by DEFRA. Conclusion There has been a dramatic increase in TB incidence since the Government chose to discontinue the Dunnet control strategy, and the FUW welcomes the opportunity this inquiry gives to present evidence on the impact of TB on the farming community. Whilst the headline statistics are testament to the deterioration there has been in disease control since the mid nineties, the very real hardship endured by producers is masked by the fact that statistics on the periods for which farms remain under restriction are not readily available in tabular form. Such restrictions have a devastating impact on farm businesses and place huge emotional and financial pressures on the individuals involved. 31 January 2003

APPENDIX 26 Memorandum submitted by the British Veterinary Association (P26) 1. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the United Kingdom. In fulfilling this role, we naturally take a keen interest in all issues aVecting the veterinary profession, be they animal health, animal welfare, public health or employment concerns.

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2. The BVA has consistently and persistently called for Government to approach the TB problem in a more co-ordinated and holistic manner. The British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), the division of the BVA most keenly aVected by this issue, has provided further details of how such an approach may work in their own submission to the Committee, which the BVA endorses. 3. Any disease that is spreading, is doing so for a reason—a change in the agent of disease, a change in the susceptibility of the species aVected (host) or a change in the management of the host, pathogen, environment or control. 4. Considering the individual problems as stated in your press release, though worthy in themselves, loses sight of the background on which the disease picture is being painted. Consideration needs to be given, amongst other things, to: — Is the aim control or eradication? We would urge eradication. — Why is the disease spreading? — What are the common factors? — How is the disease being managed? — Are other countries managing it better? 5. The TB99 survey and the survey of wildlife victims of road traYc accidents can provide additional, valuable information to this overall disease picture, whilst the rapid collection, removal and disposal of the reactor animals would greatly enhance the management of the disease. 6. Consideration of these and other issues raises the following questions: (a) passive research (including TB99 and wildlife surveys): why are they not being carried out further and wider? Is this due to a cash and/or manpower problem?; (b) management of outbreaks: disposal times of known reactors are far too long. Is this due to a paperwork problem and/or disposal problems? (c) vaccines: these were first talked about 20 years ago as being 10 years away. Why has further progress not been made? Is this due to a lack of science base and/or a lack of research funding? (d) farm based prevention of spread: is this due to lack of finance within the livestock industry, a lack of knowledge and dissemination of information and/or a lack of research on the basic infectivity of the agent? 7. Due to the short timescale for responses to the call for evidence, it has not been possible to produce a comprehensive submission for the Committee’s consideration. However, the BVA would welcome the opportunity to discuss further with the Committee the key disease issue currently facing the farm animal part of the veterinary profession. Whilst this letter may have posed questions, we would wish to oVer practical suggestions as to the way forward. 31 January 2003

APPENDIX 27 Memorandum submitted by Eunice Overend (P27) It is encouraging that DEFRA’s new enquiry into the spread of bovine TB intends to look beyond the usual subject—badgers. Lack of success so far must imply that other factors are involved which earlier terms of reference have ignored. As a consequence many farmers, particularly the NFU, still pin their faith on untested assumptions given in good faith in the 1970s and have equally misplaced confidence (as it turned out) in the accuracy of the skin test. Neither DEFRA (MAFF) nor farmers can aVord to face public wrath against the widespread badger- culling which this blinkered viewpoint has produced. I have been involved in the problem since the early days, advising on badger behaviour when very little had been published and so had access to confidential results, particularly post-mortems. By the time of the Zuckerman Report (1980) I could see that the situation was not as MAFF vets assumed and sent a submission, which Zuckerman ignored. Part of this was published in ORYX, the journal of the Fauna and Flora Preservation Society. August 1980 Vol XV No 4. Since things turned out as I predicted I have no reason to change my opinion, though now we know that false negatives can infect badgers. When culling became the accepted solution, post-mortem research was greatly reduced, little more than “visible lesions” and “positive on culture” being recorded, and “positive on culture” and “infectious” being considered, at least to the farmers, synonymous—useless for epidemiology. The Krebs trial under John Bourne should remedy this, but at a cost. Apart from the delay and loss of badgers it is seen as a sop to farmers, so generating more ill will, and as a waste of money that could be better spent on new research. Deer have long been known to carry TB, with infected oVal left in the woods for wildlife to clear up, but we still have no idea how much or where. Adequate sampling needs the money.

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A vaccine for the cattle would be ideal, provided it carried a marker and did not make them positive— easier said than done. Regulations make it impossible at the moment and would take long to change, but probably no longer than the 20 years since it was first suggested and turned down. A vaccine for badgers (and deer?) brings problems in ensuring that enough animals get an adequate dose without harm from an overdose or to non-target species and that cattle are not made positive by mistake. We fed mock-vaccine capsules to badgers in the M.vaccae trials many years ago and concluded that, while possible, this would be time consuming and beyond the skills of most field-operatives. M.vaccae (also turned down by MAFF) does not make animals positive and is an immune-system booster rather than a specific against mycobacteria, as first thought. It may yet have its uses. A better and farm-practicable test with both funding and regulation to ensure its regular use seems the best achievable goal at present. Most of all, the key findings of recent research into the disease itself in cattle and badgers and likely transmission routes, and also pointing out previous assumption which turned out to be wrong, should be pulled together and presented in a way which is both accessible and intelligible to farmers and the public. 1 February 2003

APPENDIX 28 Memorandum submitted by Helen Fullerton, PhD, Farming and Livestock Concern UK (P28) 1. The House of Commons Agriculture Committee Inquiry into Badgers and Bovine tuberculosis (1999) criticised the Krebs Report for dismissing cattle-to cattle transmission and for paying too little attention to the role husbandry might play in controlling the disease. MAFF was criticised for restricting their advice on husbandry to preventive measures against badger-to-cattle transmission, for concentrating on the risks of exposure and neglecting other risk factors such as those that might cause susceptibility. Witnesses to the inquiry proposed that the major factor in cattle—and badger—susceptibility to TB was a deficiency in their trace element intake, due to deficiency in UK soils, and it was this that undermined their resistance to challenge. The Agriculture Committee recommended that “in determining future research projects the role of trace elements in susceptibility to bovine TB in cattle and badgers should be specifically included.” This key recommendation was totally ignored in the Government’s Response. 2. Years of intensive cropping have removed trace elements (notably selenium, zinc, cobalt, copper and iodine) from the soil and there has been a failure to restore them. Unless they are among the few that have been treated, all UK farm soils are deficient in selenium. Red sandstones and granites are particularly deficient in trace elements and on limestone a raised pH tends to make zinc and cobalt unavailable. It is notable that in those areas of SW England and in the Republic of Ireland where it has proved impossible to eliminate TB despite an exhaustive test and slaughter policy, the soils are mainly derived from red sandstones, granites and limestones. It is proposed that in these areas a reservoir of infected cattle fail to respond to the tuberculin test ie they are false-negatives. In a false-negative animal there is no delayed type hypersensitivity response. This condition if it persists is known as chronic anergy and is due to the suppressed activity of Th1 lymphocytes. It can be induced by zinc and selenium deficiencies, by stress and cortisone administration and by infections and internal parasites that elevate levels of T-helper 2 (Th2) lymphocytes, suppressive of Th1. A worm burden suggests vitamin B12 (cobalt/zinc) deficiency and it may be present in some cattle. It has been found associated with tuberculous badgers, and in humans is associated with high levels of TB in poverty stricken districts. It is proposed that in endemic regions where there is an inadequate trace element intake, cattle with chronic anergy—silent carriers—transmit M.bovis to other cattle and keep the disease going. Cattle mobility transmits it to areas where tuberculin testing may be infrequent. Again it is noted the new breakdowns tend to be on red sandstone, granite and limestone where both the silent carriers and infected untested animals establish the infection. Cattle can transmit to badgers via their faecal excretions. The part played by badger-to-cattle transmission has yet to be determined. But for the past thirty years too much eVort has concentrated on one hypothesis— the culpability of infectious badgers. 3. MAFF’s long-held view that inadequate trace element nutrition is irrelevant to the spread of bovine TB was reinforced by the independent Husbandry Panel’s report (May 2000). The IHP as part of their remit had reviewed the literature for the possible role of trace elements in protecting against TB. In particular they concentrated on two valuable surveys of Irish herds conducted on behalf of the Dublin Veterinary College TB Investigation Unit. The two surveys had produced conflicting results. The first, a case-control study of 80 herds examined the husbandry factors that influenced the number of reactors and identified mineral deficiency as a predisposing factor for TB. The second, a survey of 1,195 herds conducted on behalf of the Unit by R.I. Fallon and P.A.M. Rogers investigated whether copper, selenium or iodine blood levels influenced the number of reactors. The 1,985 herds were taken to be representative of the national herd. The Cu, Se and I status of each herd was determined as the mean of 10 blood samples taken randomly from diVerent animals, and compared with

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the number of reactors in that herd over a four year period: the year in which the mineral status of the herd was determined together with the three preceding years. The survey found an even spread of reactors across the four groups of mean blood levels for each element, but the researchers erroneously jumped to the conclusion that neither copper, selenium nor iodine intakes made any diVerence to the TB test results. The reason why this conclusion was grossly flawed is obvious from a scrutiny of their own data. Tables 1–3 give four mean blood test levels for each element and the corresponding number of reactors for each reference range, and indicates whether the herds were in-wintered (Nov–April) or at-grass. The researchers had measured selenium levels in terms of the activity of the seleno-enzyme glutathione peroxidase (Se-GSHPx) and reported their results as iu/g haemoglobin (Hb), a protocol unfamiliar to UK vets where activities are reported as iu/ml sample. Since the protocols and units employed by Irish and UK vets are not the same, it was important to ascertain the deficiency-low-marginal-adequate ranges for the iu/g Hb protocol. The Randox Laboratories’ technical brief with respect to cattle and sheep as kindly sent to me by Dr. Fallon. (Randox Laboratories Ltd., Ardmore, Diamond Road, Crumlin, Co.Antrim, UK). The reference ranges shown below: deficient—marginal—adequate are quite diVerent. Reference ranges in cattle and sheep for whole blood selenium in g/l and GSHPx activities measured as iu/ g Hb and as iu/ml PCV (packed cell volume). Animal Status Deficient Low/Marginal Marginal Adequate Whole Blood Selenium Vg/l '50 51–83 84–110 (110 ˚ GSHPx: 37C Iu/g Hb '60 61–100 101–130 (130 ˚ GSHPx: 37C iu/ml PCV '18 18.5–30.3 30.6–39.4 (39.4

In the survey, 238 herds had levels greater than 70 iu/g Hb (a mean of 87 iu/g Hb), and one might be misled into thinking these were adequate as was the case for the highest blood level groups for copper and iodine. But the technical brief specifies that adequate activities of Se-GSHPx are 130 iu/g Hb. '61-100 iu/g Hb are specified to be low to marginal. Hence the mean selenium blood levels of the 1,195 herds were either deficient, low or marginal and irrespective of the level, insuYcient to protect against TB. Inexplicably, the researchers made no comment on the low selenium levels which plainly were the cause of the susceptibility. Moreover zinc and cobalt—two critical elements in immuno-protection against TB—were excluded from their survey. Their conclusion of no apparent correlation between the tuberculosis status of these herds . . . . and their mineral status’ was spurious. The diYculty in eradicating the disease in Ireland indicates there must have been silent carriers in a proportion of the herds, undetected by the tuberculin test. One might ask why since selenium deficiency is endemic in Ireland this was not mentioned. Did no one else in the TB Investigation Unit identify the correlation between selenium deficiency and reactor incidence? The Unit I was told was solely an epidemiological unit and not acquainted with selenium deficiencies or GSHPx analysis. The researchers who did the survey worked in a diVerent unit. But epidemiological data was not analysed. It should include the geology of the area, and also the breed, since cattle like the Hereford reared for centuries on selenium deficient soils are genetically adapted to need lower intakes than the Holsteins and continental breeds imported from selenium-adequate regions. Moreover the researchers did not investigate the clinical status of the reactors in order to identify why those animals succumbed. A selenium inadequacy on its own is insuYcient to induce TB. There must be a predisposition to susceptibility induced by stress, an immuno-depressive illness, lameness, mastitis, milkfever to induce lack of resistance to M.bovis exposure. 4. The IHP attempted to resolve the inconsistency between the two surveys by suggesting it might have been the provision of other minerals in the licks. It is a pity they were so hard pressed for time that they did not subject the Fallon and Rogers paper to critical analysis. Were they misled by an unfamiliarity with GSHPx measured in terms of iu/g Hb into thinking that the 70 i /g Hb represented an adequate blood level? They were persuaded by this flawed study to advise MAFF: “it is unlikely that the trace elements most commonly believed to be deficient in cattle are related to M.bovis infection . . . . The major determinants of TB susceptibility could only be genetic.” The IHP’s acceptance of this single study with its spurious conclusions has blocked further examination of trace element protection and is being used to dismiss trace element function as of no significance to the immune system, giving DEFRA, the farmers’ unions and a large percentage of the veterinary profession every excuse to concentrate on the badger issue and resist funding for trace element trials. 5. What is required are trials in TB-vulnerable areas where the grazing and forage fields of say 30 herds have their selenium, zinc, cobalt, copper and iodine levels optimally restored. (Se 0.8–1.2ppm, Cu 10–12 ppm,

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Co 1.8–3.0 ppm, Zn 12–15 ppm, I 6–8 ppm); an 30 control herds grazing and forage fields receive no treatment. Monitoring of TB incidence over two years will demonstrate whether or not an adequate cattle intake of trace elements provides resistance against TB challenge. And whether or not the badger culling policy is misconceived. If my proposition is correct, trace element levels will be raised in the entire foodchain : the soil microflora, worms, and soil /faecal insects, therebv conferring immuno-protection not only on the cattle, but on badgers and other wildlife reservoirs of TB.

Table 1. Relationship of copper level to herd reactor status: plasma copper levels micromol/l Range micromol/l '10 10-11.4 11.5-12.9 (13 No. of herds in-wintered 143 338 414 207 Mean copper 8.64 10.84 12.16 13.93 Mean herd size 122 129 130 133 % herds 0 reactors 62 64 60 62 % 1 reactor 12 11 13 12 % 2–4 reactors 10 13 12 15 % 5–9 reactors 8 5 8 6 % 10 or more reactors 8 7 7 5 No. of herds at grass 138 279 237 79 Mean copper 8.47 10.84 12.16 13.93 Mean herd size 150 122 138 132 % herds 0 reactors 58 59 59 57 % 1 reactor 11 12 11 10 % 2–4 reactors 16 11 16 21 % 5–9 reactors 6 11 8 4 % 10 or more reactors 8 7 6 8 Table 2. Relationship of Erythrocyte GSHPx Level to Herd Reactor Status: GSHPx Levels iu/g Hb Range iu/g Hb '30 30-49.9 50-69.9 (70 No. of herds in-wintered 180 389 329 194 Mean selenium as GSHPx 24.1 39.6 58.9 87.7 Mean herd size 115 119 134 155 % herds 0 reactor 62 66 64 51 % 1 reactor 11 17 11 12 % 2–4 reactors 16 10 12 17 % 5–9 reactors 5 5 6 10 % 10 or more reactors 6 7 7 10 No. of herds at grass 115 262 204 144 Mean selenium as GSHPx 23.8 39.6 59.3 87.2 Mean herd size 132 137 138 135 % herds 0 reactor 53 59 61 59 % 1 reactor 13 11 9 14 % 2–4 reactors 12 16 14 15 % 5–9 reactors 10 8 9 6 % 10 or more reactors 12 6 7 6 Table 3. Relationship of Iodine Level to Herd Reactor Status: Plasma Inorganic Iodine Levels mcg/l Range mcg/l '15 15-44.9 50-74.9 (75 No. of herds in-wintered 181 249 143 297 Mean iodine 8 28 58 160.2 Mean herd size 125 137 126 145 % herds 0 reactor 62 61 56 55 % 1 reactor 9 12 12 15 % 2–4 reactors 15 12 17 15 % 5–9 reactors 8 8 4 7 % 10 or more reactors 6 7 11 8 No. of herds at grass 122 232 71 76 Mean iodine 9 22.7 58.8 131.4 Mean herd size 148 131 154 152 % herds 0 reactors 54 57 54 60 % 1 reactor 13 9 14 14 % 2–4 reactors 15 16 23 10 % 5–9 reactors 11 9 5 18 % 10 or more reactors 7 9 4 8 2 February 2003

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APPENDIX 29 Supplementary memorandum submitted by Helen Fullerton Ph D, Farming and Livestock Concern UK (P28A) The Independent Scientific Group and DEFRA’s spoligo-typing team have incontrovertibly identified cattle-to-cattle transmission as the cause of TB spread, and DEFRA’s splendid new policy (TBF79) on stringent testing and movement restriction will halt the devastating escalation of TB. The missing link in DEFRA’s policy is a failure to identify the cause of TB persistence in the hot spot areas and thus to eradicate TB from the UK. I propose that the cause of the persistence is the “silent carrier” whose eVect has been seriously underestimated. Silent carriers are chronically anergic cattle whose immune systems are so suppressed they never respond to the tuberculin test (false negatives). A silent carrier can carry the infection for years and remain healthy, with the bacilli persisting in bacteriostatic association within the macrophages of the host. The reason for the decline in TB in the midseventies to mid-eighties was the selling oV of thousands of older cows to make way for the influx of Holsteins, thereby temporarily removing silent carriers. Researchers advise that chronic anergy is induced by prolonged stress, secondary infection, parasites or zinc deficiency. Biochemical evidence suggests it is also induced by selenium and cobalt (B12) deficiency. These three elements, zinc, selenium and cobalt, as well as copper and iodine, are intrinsically deficient in soils developed on limestone, red sandstone and granite, the geological locations of the hot spots and of the areas to which the disease is most easily spread. As I have proposed in my submissions, the crucial factor is not exposure but susceptibility. Resistance can be induced by raising cattle intake of the trace elements on which immuno-protection depends, preferably by restoring them to the depleted soils, so that they get them in their forage and feed. I suggest that pilot trials should target the hot spot areas with a view to identifying and eradicating the silent carriers, and that this can be achieved by reactivating their immune systems with an optimum intake of zinc, selenium and cobalt, together with husbandry measures eliminating stress. In addition to giving the trial herds immuno-protection, there are two possible outcomes for the silent carrier: 1. her immune system will be activated enough for the cow to respond to the tuberculin test, identified and slaughtered. Tests in the pilot areas could be at three-monthly intervals; 2. her immune system will be suYciently activated for the cow’s cytotoxic T-cells to break the bacteriostatic mechanism and destroy the pathogen. She will now react as an immune animal. 27 February 2003 APPENDIX 30 Memorandum submitted by Mr GH Cole (P31) 1. In Britain and in British farming we do love our scapegoats. 2. Ever since Compulsory annual routine testing was discontinued when we thought the disease had been eradicate this “blame” syndrome has gathered momentum amongst farmers. 3. The chorus of shouting has been gathering momentum ever since the late 1960’s when for example this farm became TB free. This chorus has been stoked up regularly but a succession of NFU presidents anxious to garner votes for the election. The orchestrated “hue and cry” ABOUT THE BADGER HAS BECOME AN ABSOLUTE OBESSION WITH FARMERS BLINDING THEM SO THAT THEY ARE UNPREPARED TO CONSIDER ANY OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSE. Note: the theme is that THEY (presumably the government)—must do something about it. Notice that they never suggest that modern farming practices have any bearing on the problem. 4. The present edition of “The British Farmer”—enclosed—is a classic example and the story, which relates to the front cover, is distortion. 5. A young farmer neighbour proudly showing me his new “shed” asked what I thought I said it would have been better had only two sides been sheeted against prevailing storms . . . as you find on farms in the borders on the Duke of Buccleugh’s estates. So long as animals are dry, can lie down dry, they will take no harm from the cold. However, the NFU and farmers argue that they don’t fatten so quickly, don’t yield as much milk etc unless they are completely under cover.—Echoes of bank overdrafts/cash flow and all that nonsense under which good husbandry (meaning lower feed bills) is sacrificed for profits. 6. It should be noted that since the late ‘70’s new farm buildings have been sheeted all round. Attempts have been made to improve ventilation with spaced boarding, small roof vents etc but in all these buildings it is most noticeable that there is distinct FUG of stagnant air. But the farmer will never acknowledge having invested his money in such an impressive construction that the protection against the inclement weather is actually providing the perfect culture medium for Tuberculosis.

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7. On this farm we put up a new shed in the late 1980’s for storage of silage bales implements and use as a lambing-shed in the springtime. It is totally OPEN along all one side. The building has its back to the prevailing storms but I have frequently noticed that whenever we have a “full-house” of about 30 ewes and their newborn lambs in calm weather conditions there is always a FUG of stale air . . . (it should be noted that the barn functions as a maternity hospital and mother and lambs never spend more than 24 hours in it except in blizzard conditions). 8. As a young man I worked on many farms in Scandinavia and have visited those countries 16 times or more. Last summer I took photographs of several farm building new and post war. All of them almost without exception have electrically powered ventilation systems to extract foul air. 9. Instead of bleating about the badger it would be a good idea if Farmers, the NFU and the building manufacturers carried out some controlled test on the eVect of current design on air quality/air exchange and designed some new building which maintained a complete air exchange every so many minutes etc. I think the results would be revealing but as our scientists are not flavour of the month with British Farmers you would have one helluva job to change attitudes and practices. 10. I have some pictures of the ventilators on Danish and Norwegian farm buildings. ` 11. I do not have the time to precis the enclosed letter from the Biologist given to me by a friend but its contents should be widely circulated although it will not find favour with the scientists in DEFRA of the NFU. 12. I would suggest that the conclusions are too near to the truth for their comfort. And to me knowledge Governments have ALREADY WASTED some £40 million on the futile methods attempted so far over the past 30 years. Finally, in this country we do not APPLY ELEMENTARY COMMON SENSE in many situations where caution and precaution would be obvious .......... WHEN FMD WAS FINALLY DECLARED ENDED IN CUMBRIA ............ you could not believe that the Veterinary authorities in DEFRA allowed all the big farmers in the county who had lost their stock and were bursting with compensation money—who were boasting they wanted to restock quick before the price of replacements went through the roof—to go ahead and purchase animals and complete herds in some cases from the south of England and from areas with known TB hotspots. WITHOUT BLOOD TESTS! Even an uninformed city dweller would have expected testing to be a virtual ..... And to do this into a County which had been TB free. It took some time but the damage was done before the Chief vet put a stop to it . . . the horse had bolted. And when Margaret Beckett came to pay us a carefully stage-managed well choreographed visit she was not told that on one of the farms she visited owned by a millionaire “county” farmer a newly “imported” cow from the south of England had been shot the previous day . . . enough said. 28 January 2003 APPENDIX 31 Memorandum submitted by Lord Moran (P33) I am very glad to see that the Environment, Food and Rural AVairs Committee in the House of Commons is proposing to hold an Inquiry into the Government’s approach to badgers and the incidence of bovine tuberculosis, and that Mr Drew is to chair the Sub-committee undertaking this enquiry. I have an interest, as my wife and I have a small herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle at our home in Radnorshire. We were struck by bovine TB in July last year. Six of our cows and two heifers were tested positive and slaughtered. We had had the herd for 37 years and it was a great blow to lose so many of our best animals. Though we were compensated, very fairly, this was no real solace. Some of our friends and neighbours have however been hard hit financially as they have been unable to move stock so as to get them to sales. Our herd is isolated on a small hill farm and our cattle have no contact with any other cattle, apart from a bull bought in which was tested clear. We, and the Government vets, were in no doubt that the infection which struck us (and a Good many other farms in our area) came from badgers. I recalled what Sir John Krebs wrote in his report on behalf of the Independent Scientific Review Group, namely: “The sum of evidence strongly supports the view that, in Britain, badgers are a significant source of infection in cattle. Most of this evidence is indirect . . . but in total the available evidence, including the eVects of completely removing badgers from certain areas, is compelling.” This, from a leading authority, is clearly right, and it is sad that such a long time—several years—is being taken to prove a case which we all know is self-evident. Badgers, as you will know, have enormously increased in numbers—in our part of the world they have even taken to digging up graveyards—and it is clearly essential that they should be culled in areas where they are spreading TB to so many farms, and may well reinfect herds that are now clear. I hope your Committee will be able to persuade the Government to take firm action on this quickly and so bring this damaging disease under control. 29 January 2003

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