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NBA calls for urgent action to combat growing bovine TB threat 
 
By The Journal

The National Beef Association has called for urgent action to combat the
growing threat of Bovine TB.

The organisation hopes the new round of parliamentary investigations into
the relentless spread of the disease will be regarded by Defra as a wake up
call from farmers, taxpayers and MPs.

"It is clear there is widespread dissatisfaction at Defra's handling of TB -
not least from HM Treasury which is aware that the cost to taxpayers and the
Exchequer will continue to escalate unless there is a radical change in
policy attitudes," said chairman of the NBA's TB committee, George
Richardson.

"Eradication is the priority but first of all Defra must seize control and
prevent further escalation of the disease among cattle and wildlife.

"Current tactics are ineffective because the problem is not being tackled
resolutely.

"There are still unidentified pockets of TB in cattle and nothing is being
done to prevent it jumping beyond known hot spot areas through badgers." Mr
Richardson said: "There has to be a limit to the cost that farmers,
taxpayers and Defra itself have to face and the deeper TB embeds itself
among cattle and badgers the more expensive it will be to root out.

"New action must be taken immediately before the situation becomes even more
difficult. At present the disease is moving everywhere and the control
policies are going nowhere. The results of the Krebs Trials on the
contribution made by badgers may not be available till 2006.

"Neither the Government or the industry can afford to wait that long.

"The nettle must be grasped and effective intermediate action taken now," he
added.