Bovine Tuberculosis

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) strategy has been implemented and (b) funds have been committed to (i) identifying and (ii) eradicating bovine tuberculosis. [138031]

Mr. Bradshaw: In 200203 we spent nearly £74 million on the bovine tuberculosis (TB) Five Point Plan, based on:

    Protecting human health;

    Cattle testing and controls;

    Development of a TB vaccine;

    Research into how TB is spread; and

    A badger culling trial

We are keen to improve diagnosis of the disease in both cattle and badgers and have commissioned the Veterinary Laboratories Agency to carry out two research projects, at a total estimated cost of over £950,000.

The current TB programme is under review and we expect to consult on proposals for a new TB strategy for Great Britain, and on short-term policy options for TB control, around the end of the year. In developing the strategy we will need to consider whether eradication of the disease is a realistic goal within the 10 year period over which the strategy will apply, and on the most appropriate ways of achieving it.