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Bovine TB (tuberculosis)

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of cattle and one of the biggest challenges facing the cattle farming industry today, particularly in the west and south west of England. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), which can also infect and cause TB in badgers, deer, goats, pigs, camelids (llamas and alpacas), dogs and cats, as well as many other mammals.

Latest news

The Government’s approach to tackling Bovine TB

The Government is committed to a comprehensive and balanced approach to tackling TB, with eradication as the long-term goal.

Cattle measures will remain central to the Government’s approach, which needs to be comprehensive, risk-based and staged.

Controlled culling of badgers confirmed as part of the package of measures to tackle bovine TB (14 December 2011). The approach will be piloted in two areas.

Key publications, documents and media

Key facts and figures

  • 5.5 Million – total number of TB tests on cattle in England in 2011.
  • 28,000 – approximate number of cattle slaughtered for TB control in England in 2012.
  • 3,900 – approximate number of new TB incidents in 2012 (herds where at least one animal tests positive for bovine TB, when the herd had previously been TB free).
  • 11.5% of cattle herds in England were under cattle movement restrictions at some point in 2011 (the 2012 statistics will be published once additional quality assurance checks have been completed).
  • 23.6% of cattle herds in the South-West were under cattle movement restrictions at some point in 2011 (the 2012 statistics will be published once additional quality assurance checks have been completed).
  • £500 million – the amount it has cost the taxpayer to control the disease in England in the last 10 years.
  • £1 billion – estimated cost of TB control in England over the next decade without taking further action.
  • £34,000 – the average cost of a TB breakdown on a farm, of which around £12,000 falls to the farmer.

Further information – see Bovine TB statistics

Page last modified: 26 March 2013