TB in Cattle: Reducing the Risk (PB4516)

Spread from wildlife

Mycobacterium bovis has been found in several wild mammal species. The species found to have the highest rate of infection is the badger, although infection has also been found in deer and other animals. The consensus of scientific opinion is that badgers are a significant source of TB infection in cattle, although in areas where the badgers are not infected, they cannot pass the infection to cattle. Even where there is TB in the local badger population, there are many other factors which influence whether or not cattle become infected.

It makes sense to minimise direct contact between cattle and badgers, and contact between cattle and places where badgers live or may have left saliva, urine or faeces.

  • walk your farm to identify areas which badgers use
  • keep wildlife out of buildings, especially feed stores and cattle housing
  • raise feed and water troughs so that their lips are at least 80cm (30 inches) off the ground
  • molasses feed blocks are a favourite food of badgers; ensure they are raised off the ground where badgers cannot get to them
  • fence off the areas around setts to keep cattle out while allowing badgers free access
  • if you have clusters of badger dung pits, consider fencing them off too
  • avoid grass from badger latrines and field margins when cutting silage
  • dispose safely of badger carcases found on your farm. Use a face mask and gloves

It is an offence to interfere with badgers or their setts without a licence. Contact your MAFF RSC or the Scottish or Welsh Office to ask about licences

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