TB Skin Test Frustrations

First published in News

LEDBURY'S MP, Bill Wiggin MP believes the skin test for TB in cattle is not working properly and is costing farmers money.

Infected cattle are slipping through the net, and their infection is not spotted until the abattoir, where the carcasses are condemned.

He vented his frustration with the cattle TB skin test in Parliament, earlier this month.

Mr Wiggin questioned the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson MP, in the House of Commons on Thursday 3 April, and said: The skin test is clearly failing as the number of carcases rejected post-slaughter more than doubled between 2012 and 2013 and is increasing again this year.

"My constituents are having cattle which have passed the skin test condemned without compensation at slaughter."

He added: "The Government are consulting on a risk-based trading strategy which is completely flawed because it is based on the skin test, and the electronic device that Nottingham Trent university is working on is supposed to be three years away.

“What can the Secretary of State do to save my constituents from the total loss of condemned carcases, all because we do not have a proper skin test?”

Mr Paterson said, in reply: “ We are all, sadly, very aware of the ineffectiveness of some of our technology. We are fully aware that the skin test is not a perfect individual animal test, but it is currently the method used in every other country with a major problem of TB in cattle and it does give a broad result, within which other countries have managed to bring this disease down.”

Speaking after the debate Bill Wiggin MP said: “TB is a notifiable disease which is having a profound effect on agriculture. I am deeply concerned about the effectiveness of the skin test as the statistics for carcasses being rejected post slaughter seems to be increasing.

“My preference would be to use a cattle vaccine but the European Union is preventing us from doing that.”

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