Trials to develop cattle vaccinations for bovine TB are to begin in England later this month, the UK government has confirmed. Plans for the research were announced last July and the aim is to have a cattle TB vaccine available by 2025.
A key issue in the past has been differentiating at TB tests between TB-positive cattle and those that have been vaccinated.
The UK government has also announced plans for a five-year badger vaccination programme in East Sussex, but has come in for criticism from farm lobby organisations after confirming that licencing for new badger culls are to stop after 2022.
Other licences issued in 2021 and 2022 could be revoked after a minimum of two years of culling.
The plans to end culling, which has been ongoing in England since 2013, have been condemned by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), who have described the announcement as “incredibly disappointing and frustrating”.
“The government should be making decisions based on the science and evidence, which clearly shows that badger culling is effective in controlling the spread of this disease,” said NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts.