TB toll on the rise as 36,000 cattle slaughtered in 2015
The number of cattle culled because of bovine TB rose to 36,000 in 2015 with significant increases seen in Wales and England’s High Risk Area.
The number of cattle slaughtered because of bovine TB across Great Britain rose by 10 per cent in last year, with big increases seen in Wales and England’s High Risk Area (HRA).
Defra’s annual TB statistics, published on Wednesday, showed 36,270 cattle were slaughtered across Great Britain as TB reactors, inconclusive reactors or direct contact in 2015.
This represented a 10 per cent per cent increase on the 33,025 cattle slaughtered in 2014.
The 2015 slaughter figures showed significant regional variation.
- In Wales, there was an eye-catching 27 per cent rise in TB slaughterings to 8,103, reversing the downward trend of recent years
- Across the whole of England, there was a 6 per cent increase to 28,033
- England’s High Risk Area saw a 9 per cent increase to 24,746
- There was a 9 per cent reduction to 2,746 in England’s Edge Area
- Slaughterings were down 11 per cent England’s Low Risk Area to 611
- There was a big drop in TB slaughterings in Scotland, 42 per cent, to just 134 cattle.
The figures for new herd incidents painted a slightly different picture, however.
- There was actually a 2 per cent decrease in the number of new TB incidents in Wales to 837 in 2015, compared with 2014.
- In England, there was a 4 per cent increase to 3,954 new herd incidents overall.
- This included a 3 per cent rise in the HRA to 3,452 and a 42 per cent rise in the LRA to 158.
- In Scotland there was a 13 per cent decrease to 40.
The figures also highlight the significant regional variation in the proportion of herds affected by the disease at the end of 2015.
- In Wales the figures show 5.2 per cent of herds were under restriction at the end of 2015, fractionally up on 2014. There were 612 herds classified as being not officially TB free, just five more than in 2014.
- Across England, 6.1 per cent of herds were under restriction, compared with 5.6 per cent 12 months previously. The number of restricted stood at 3,131, 7 per cent up on December 2014.
- But in England’s HRA, 12.3 per cent of herds were restricted at the end of 2015, compared with 11.5 per cent in 2014.
- In the Edge Area, the figure was 3.2 per cent, compared with 2.8 per cent in 2014.
- In the LRA, 0.3 per cent of herds were under restriction compared with 0.2 per cent in 2014.
- In Scotland, just 0.2 per cent of herds were under restriction. The figure stood at 23, five fewer than a year earlier.