The EU’s policy on the eradication of bovine TB has been based on two fundamental principles: first, that Member States are primarily responsible for the eradication of bovine TB; and secondly, the eradication of bovine TB must be the final target for Member States to aim for.
The international rules on TB vaccinations, laid down by the OIE (Office International des Epizooties/World Organisation for Animal Health) and codified in the EU under Directive 78/52/EEC, do not allow the use of anti-TB vaccines in the case of cattle. The main reasons for this are potential interference with the only official test (skin test) and the suboptimal effectiveness of existing vaccines.
In the UK and Ireland the spread of bovine TB has been linked to badgers. Vaccination has the potential to reduce bovine TB without the negative perturbation effects arising from a badger cull. Since 1998, the UK Government has invested GBP 30 million in developing TB vaccines for cattle and badgers.
Is the Commission aware of the development of an injectable badger vaccine, which has been available since March 2010? In addition, oral badger vaccine is predicted to be available from 2015: is the Commission aware of this development, and what steps is it taking to support this initiative?
A cattle vaccine is also expected by the end of this year: is the Commission following this development?
Will the Commission consider making changes to Directive 78/52/EEC to allow the vaccination of cattle?