The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom) recently launched a report of an inquiry into the role that vaccination could play in tackling bovine TB. The report notes that vaccination of cattle against bovine TB is currently prohibited under EU law and that, despite Defra having applied for ‘in principle’ approval of a marketing authorisation for a cattle vaccine last year, it has become clear that lengthy field trials would be required before the EU and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) would consider amending these rules.
EFRACom, have urged the government to do “ all it can to speed up progress without compromising collection of the robust field data needed to satisfy the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, European Commission and OIE. Once a programme of field trials is agreed, we look forward to the Government publishing its own timetable for use of a vaccine on cattle. We accept that plans may alter but any change must be clearly explained.’
Discussing the vaccination of badgers, the committee notes that an injectable vaccine for badgers has been available since March 2010, but that the Government should now produce a clear strategy for using it.
Finally, the committee comments that its inquiry demonstrated that the quality of information available to the public about cattle and badger vaccination ‘has not been good enough’. There is a great deal of interest in the subject of bovine TB, it says, and the Government ‘can do better in satisfying it’.
■ 'Vaccination against bovine TB.' Available at www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/bovine-tb-report-publication/