Bovine Tuberculosis: Cattle
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had on the spread of bovine tuberculosis among cattle; and what proposals she plans to bring forward to prevent any further such spread. 
Mr Paice: Tackling bovine TB is a key priority for the Government, and Ministers continue to have regular discussions about how to halt the spread of TB amongst cattle and bring the disease under control.
We received a large number of responses to our consultation on a badger control policy, which we are considering carefully. We will announce our decision and publish a comprehensive and balanced bovine TB eradication programme for England as soon as possible.
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Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of vaccinating cattle against bovine tuberculosis; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: Cattle vaccination is a potential long-term option for helping to control bovine TB and could have benefits in reducing the risk of infection and onward transmission of disease. However, a vaccine cannot guarantee that all cattle will be fully protected against TB and is therefore unlikely ever to be suitable for use as a sole eradication strategy. In addition, evidence suggests that without addressing the problem in the badger population, it will not be possible to eradicate TB in cattle.
DEFRA has invested around £18 million into the development of a cattle vaccine and associated diagnostic tools. There are still significant technical and regulatory challenges to overcome before a cattle vaccine would be available for widespread use. This includes the need to change EU legislation. We therefore anticipate that a cattle TB vaccine could not be used in the field before 2015 at the earliest.