Britain exports TB-infected meat

Posted on the 8th June 2013

The carcasses of British cows who were infected with bovine TB (bTB) are being exported to France, Holland and Belgium, an article in The Sunday Times has revealed. These countries have been officially declared free of bTB, and the French farmers’ union has said: ‘This is surreal. This practice should be halted immediately. It is bizarre that a government ministry is involved in this.’

Once a cow with bTB is identified, the British government takes possession of the animal, pays compensation to the farmer, and then sells the animal for slaughter. Each year, 28,000 cows with bTB are slaughtered for human consumption. The government has argued that we cannot vaccinate cows against TB without a Marketing Authorisation (which is not currently granted) as this ‘runs the risk that live cattle and cattle product exports could be banned by other countries’. The government’s solution? Export the infected meat without telling anyone!

Also this weekend came the news that the government has refused to publish risk assessments of danger to the public during the badger shoots because doing so ‘could have an adverse affect upon the health and safety of the public’. But campaigners say that keeping the locations secret puts those vaccinating badgers or patrolling for wounded animals at real risk. The police have warned of the ‘clear potential for harm to public safety’.

In May 2000, Owen Paterson said that shooting foxes was not a viable alternative to hunting them, writing ‘it is highly unlikely that any government would wish to see a proliferation of rifles in the countryside’, and yet this is precisely what his badger culling policy entails. A previously released Defra document stated ‘no shooter will have prior experience of shooting badgers’ and ‘some shots may completely miss the animal’.

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