House of Commons Library

Bovine Tuberculosis Statistics: Great Britain

Published Monday, October 16, 2017

This briefing paper presents statistics on the incidence of bovine TB in Great Britain. In 2018, there were 4,395 new herd incidents and 44,656 animals were slaughtered due to bovine TB.

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Bovine tuberculosis (TB) spreads when infected animals mix with new herds. It can also be spread through badgers infected with the disease. Bovine TB can spread from cattle to humans, although the risk of infection is very low. Cattle are tested routinely to detect infection early and prevent the disease from spreading. Infected cattle, and cattle that has been in direct contact with infected animals, are slaughtered.

In terms of longer term trends, the number of new herd incidents has declined since 2012, while the number of animals slaughtered has increased. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs attributes this rise to better testing, particularly in herds known to have been infected previously.

There were 4,395 new herd incidents in 2018 and 44,656 animals were slaughtered due to bovine TB. Bovine TB is more common in certain parts of the country; the South West saw the most incidents and animals slaughtered, while Scotland saw the least.

Commons Briefing papers SN06081

Author: Elise Uberoi

Topics: Agriculture, Agriculture and environment, Animal diseases, Animals, Countryside, Farmers, Wildlife

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