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Cattle vaccination will not work on its own
AHVLA scientists comment on TB vaccine

Cattle vaccination against bovine tuberculosis could offer farmers an important tool to help prevent TB infection in their herds, but it will not wipe out the disease completely.

Glyn Hewinson, chief scientist at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), commented that he did not think that cattle vaccination "can be a strategy on its own - you have to use all the tools in your toolbox," but he added that "the level of investment that's going into the development of TB vaccines shows the commitment to develop these important tools to control TB in the UK."

Defra has budgeted £15.5 million for research into developing effective cattle TB vaccines over the next four years, and the AHVLA has developed a blood test - a DIVA test - which can distinguish between infected and vaccinated animals.

Defra is currently working with the EU to change legislation to allow a BCG cattle vaccine and the DIVA to be used in combination to tackle bovine TB, with the aim of allowing both to be used legally in the UK.

However, Defra secretary Owen Paterson has insisted that vaccination is still not a viable alternative to badger culling. Speaking at a meeting of the Conservative Rural Affairs Group, in Birmingham, he said that currently, vaccines are "not yet in a position to be deployed" in either cattle or badgers.

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Nominations open for National Cat Awards 2020

News Story 1
 UK charity Cats Protection has announced that cat owners can nominate their pets for the National Cat Awards 2020 starting today.

The awards take place annually, celebrating heart warming stories of the positive impact that cats have on their owners. Cat owners have until Thursday 12 March to submit their nominations through the Cats Protection website. 

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Restriction zone lifted at Suffolk chicken farm

A one-kilometre restriction zone around a commercial chicken farm in mid-Suffolk has been lifted, following the completion of surveillance testing for avian influenza H5N3 with negative results.

Some 27,000 birds on the premises were culled after a veterinary surgeon identified the disease while investigating a fall in egg production. Poultry keepers are urged to take action to reduce the risk of disease in their flock by following government advice on biosecurity.