The EU has made nearly £23 million available to help UK administrations tackle bovine TB in cattle.
In total, the Commission has announced €32m (£23.6m) for UK programmes to help eliminate animal diseases and zoonoses and strengthen protection of human and animal health.
But the vast majority of the money, €31m (£22.8m), is earmarked for dealing with bovine TB, including testing of herds, compensation for farmers and the purchase of vaccines for badgers.
The remainder will help tackle avian influenza in poultry and wild birds, salmonella and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).
The four UK programmes, which the Commission is co-financing with domestic administrations, are among 130 selected from across the EU worth €161m (£119m) in total.
The UK has been allocated half of the total funding, about €62m (£46m), made available to tackle Btb across the EU.
The Commission stressed the funding it provides only relates to combatting bTB in cattle and not to how the UK combats the disease in badgers, which it said was ‘a matter for the UK authorities’.
The EU breakdown includes:
The Commission said: “Given the serious impact animal disease outbreaks can have not only on human health, but also the economy and trade, this year’s allocation of EU co-financing will assist national authorities to continue to put in place precautionary measures, disease surveillance and eradication programmes.”
It said EU co-financing has resulted in a ‘continuous improvement of animal health as well as a decrease in the number of human cases of various zoonotic diseases’.
For example the number of salmonellosis cases has fallen from 151,292 cases in 2007 down to 80,677 cases in 2014, with similar success seen for brucellosis and other zoonotic diseases.
Co-funded programmes for oral vaccination against rabies in wild animals have also been ‘very successful’, the Commission added, with the EU achieving a level of rabies eradication ‘not experienced anywhere else before’.