NBA: Animal Health Should Replace Natural England

UK - The National Beef Association (NBA) would like Natural England to give up its role as the authority that oversees licensing for Defra’s proposed TB controls. The Association believes Animal Health would be better placed to take over this responsibility, as well as monitoring the general conduct of the cull itself.
calendar icon 1 September 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The NBA’s TB committee has issued the following statement in which it disapproves of Natural England’s lack of enthusiasm for the important tasks required of it by Government and industry – and questions its neutrality on the badger culling issue.

“Natural England, even though it has accepted the job as licensing authority for the proposed badger cull, has nevertheless made clear that it is not keen to take on the work and also has reservations about the effectiveness of badger culling itself."

"Natural England appears to be gold plating the licensing process, which will make them possibly unworkable."

“The NBA is concerned that Natural England is not prepared to take a neutral position and accept the task required of it by the Secretary of State."

“The work it has been asked to undertake is administrative. It is not field work or the conservation duties that Natural England clearly prefers, and so the Association believes it is not the most appropriate body to manage the proposed badger cull with the diligence required."

“It is important that all aspects of the proposed cull are overseen by an organisation that is capable of doing the job without bias and because TB management is fundamentally a disease control issue the NBA strongly believes Natural England’s duties should be passed on to specialists within Animal Health."

“Animal Health have disease control and management at the heart of its priorities and also have responsibility for all other animal health issues."

“Such a move is made possible, even at this late stage, because the five year period that covers Natural England’s installation as the licensing authority ends on 29 October and opens the way to a Government review of its suitability to the task in hand."

“Government has a legal obligation to eradicate TB, which is a notifiable disease, from all susceptible species to protect public health; this is not a wildlife issue on its own. It acknowledged acceptance of this when it submitted its TB eradication plan to the European Commission."

“This being the case the principle competent authority to oversee the proposed badger cull is the Government’s own Animal Health department”.

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