A third enquiry is to be held in an attempt to establish controls against the spread of TB from badgers to cattle – and vice versa – but this time, the European Union is to be involved.
There is widespread disagreement whether the culling of badgers could can actually control the spread of the disease – two previous investigation by the environment department Defra came up with opposite conclusions – but now that the EU is involved, it seems likely that some control measures will be introduced eventually.
However, those controls may not inevitably mean culling thousands of animals: the investigation will look into ways of vaccinating both badgers and cattle.
Bovine TB was originally confined mainly to the West Country but has been spreading north for several years. It is now present in Derbyshire and northern farmers fear it will arrive in Yorkshire in the near future.
The new enquiry has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association. Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North said: “We have to take this as a positive step towards the eradication of a disease that not only causes suffering to farm animals and hardship to their keepers, but must also has a devastating effect on sections of our wildlife.”