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National Trust's deer herd culled after bovine TB outbreak

The National Trust has culled its entire deer herd at Dyrham Park, Bath following a 10-year battle trying to control bovine TB infection levels.

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Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) sees National Trust's herd of deer culled

It is the first cull of an entire herd the charity has been forced to take since 2001 at Charlecote in Warwickshire.

 

National Trust general manager, Tom Boden, said: "This week has been an incredibly tough week, and it is with a heavy heart that we are sharing the news.

 

“Unfortunately, we continued to detect very high levels of bTB in the animals despite our best efforts to control the disease.

 

“We have been working with expert advisors and vets since the disease was first detected in 2007 but sadly infection rates reached a level that was severely impacting the health and welfare of our animals.


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“Following a rigorous review with the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), experts and staff we were very sadly been left with no choice but to make the very difficult decision to humanely cull the entire deer herd.

“It is absolutely the last decision we wanted to have to make and we are all devastated.

 

"However, the health and welfare of the herd had to be our number one priority.”

 

 

It is understood the cull took place on Tuesday March 2.

 

Sarah Tomlinson, a farm vet and member of the Government’s bTB partnership tweeted it was a shame to have to cull deer that have been in the park for generations and questioned why it was okay to cull one species, not another.

 

In the past the trust has campaigned against the badger cull, leading to former Defra Secretary Michael Gove saying he would investigate its reasons for a blanket no cull policy when badger culling was a key part of the Government’s 25 year strategy.

 

The National Trust said every possible step was taken to try to manage and minimise transmission of the disease in the past decade, including additional fencing to make the estate more secure, a two-year badger vaccination programme, and stopping cattle grazing on site.

 

Mr Boden added they will aim to make Dyrham a bTB free site and bring back deer to Dyrham at some stage in the future.

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