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Cumbrian farmers told it is unknown how bovine TB has spread

Farmers are calling for more action Credit: PA

Government experts have told Cumbrian farmers that they don't yet know how bovine TB has spread in 16 out of 20 cases.

At a meeting last night they said there's more testing to be done, but at the moment they don't believe badgers are responsible for the initial infection.

Experts also said they needed more information before they decide if badgers are to be culled, as only been three badgers have tested positive, from around 12 tested. They added that culling can cause badgers to move, making the spread of the disease worse. For these reasons badgers will not be culled at the moment.

Instead farmers are encouraged to practice good biosecurity, for instance using fences to keep their cattle away from badger areas, and seal buildings with food as well as adhering to cattle movement restrictions.

“A number of bTB breakdowns in cattle herds have been identified in east Cumbria. APHA has carried out a thorough investigation, which found evidence the disease is present in badgers in the area. We are working closely with farmers and others affected to assess the extent of disease in the badger population. Additional cattle controls are in place and further action will depend on the results of our surveillance. Farmers in the area should continue to practice good biosecurity to minimise the risk of disease spreading to their farms.”

– An Animal and Plant Health Agency spokesperson

But farmers are calling for more action. They want to see more active testing on badgers so the experts and farmers can be better informed of what's going on and how to stop it.