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The TB Eradication Group for England presented its Progress Report to stakeholders on October 8th 2009


Providing advice on bovine TB to restricted farms

30. To help farm businesses reduce the risk of repeat TB breakdowns, and also minimise the business impacts of TB breakdowns, it is crucial that they have access to the best available professional, and sharply focused, advice. Farmers do not always realise what a TB breakdown could mean. The experience shared by some of the Members from their colleagues and clients made clear to the Group that the pressure of dealing with a TB breakdown can result in farmers failing to see their way through the problems or even taking decisions that make the problem worse, or that have longer term implications for the health of their herd.
31. We recognise that some one-to-one veterinary advice is already provided by Animal Health veterinary and technical case officers for owners of TB breakdown herds. However, we believe it is in industry's and government's best interest to offer more and so we have agreed, in principle, with the Secretary of State that additional government funded veterinary advice could help some herd owners better identify/manage disease risks and develop strategies for minimising the impact of TB related restrictions. We are pleased to note that Defra is now actively developing options for the provision of veterinary and ecological advice for TB affected farmers, and is also considering business advice options. This work has been given a high priority, the intention being to roll-out the new advice package in early 2010.
32. Animal Health too are proactively looking at how they can enhance their advice service. They are developing clearer guidance on bovine TB through a complete reworking of TB in Your Herd ? an advisory leaflet provided to all farmers with TB affected herds; and from January 2010 Animal Health Veterinary Officers will spend more time providing one-to-one advice to cattle owners experiencing their first TB breakdown. We were also pleased to hear from the NFU South West that they were applying to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to fund their own TB advisory scheme for farmers and we have written expressing our support.