We belive the cattle vaccination can be a strong component in the fight against bTB.

Cattle vaccination against TB is currently prohibited under EU legislation. Currently, the only vaccine candidate for use in cattle is the BCG which interferes with the mandatory tuberculin skin test. Vaccinated cattle could become positive to the tuberculin skin test and herds could not be declared Officially TB Free (OTF) for trading purposes. Therefore, as part of the UK research programme, Defra are developing and validating a diagnostic test to differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals (a so-called ‘DIVA test’). Changes will be required to the EU legislation to allow this test to be used in place of, or alongside, the tuberculin skin test to confer OTF status.

Tonio Borg Memer of the European Commission wrote to Owen Paterson (Brussels, HV/cs/1792649 (13)ANNEX) detailing a timeline for cattle vaccine; this is the timeline -


A series of steps would be needed to be undertaken as follows:

1. In order to provide answers to the still open scientific questions on bTB vaccination, substantial experimental research and large scale long lasting (possibly 2-5 years) trials, also under EU field conditions, are needed [start 2013, end 2015-2016].

This has not yet been put in place by our government and the end of 2013 is fast approaching. This letter was sent last November 2013.

2. Scientific consensus should be reached on the conditions for use of the candidate vaccine and the DIVA test in order to ensure better bTB control. Scientific opinion from EFSA will be needed (could take 12-18 months once science is available). The vaccine should also undergo marketing authorisation procedure, as appropriate [2016­ 2017].

3. Debate on the veterinary conditions to allow the use of vaccine, that would possibly end with new EU rules (possibly encompassed within delegated and implementing acts that would follow the new Animal Health Law) authorising vaccination as an additional tool for bTB control. It looks realistic that these rules would not allow vaccinated animals to enter intra-Union trade (like ewes vaccinated against brucellosis in Greece) [2017-2018].

4. Practical experience on the use of the vaccine and DIVA test under the new rules above. This phase will be important to decide on a wider use of vaccine in the EU regions not bTB-free (currently less than 20% of the EU territory) and on the possible conditions for intra-Union and international trade of vaccinated animals and herds [2018-2023].

5. Possible EU rules on vaccinated animals and herds to enter intra-Union trade in parallel with amendments of international standards (OIE Terrestrial Code and Diagnostic Manual) [2023]. 

Finally, I would like again to bring to your attention the crucial importance of the application of the strict measures at farm level, as foreseen in the bTB approved 2013 programme and also committed by your authority.

Given the importance of this issue may I assure you that my services remain at your disposal for any information or possible assistance that you might require on these issues.

We hope the government will seize this opportunity with both hands and develop and fulfill the five step proposed by the EU. As of yet, this has not happened. Cattle vaccine is a much needed tool in the war aginst bTB.

"It is perplexing that the Government has maintained that field trials were prohibited under EU law when, as recent events have shown, this is not the case" - EFRA SELECT COMMITTEE.

Cattle Blackleg, tetanus, 'husk' (lungworm disease), rotavirus, infectious bovine rhinotracheictis (IBR), respiratory syncytial virus, pasteurellosis, enteritis, leptospirosis, mastitis, ringworm, BVD, PI3, coronavirus, salmonella, E Coli.

Sheep & goats Clostridial diseases (8 different species including tetanus), pasteurellosis, ovine abortion (chlamydiosis and toxoplasmosis), louping ill, contagious pustular dermatitis (orf), footrot.

Pigs Erysipelas, parvovirus, colibacillosis, clostridial disease, atrophic rhinitis, enteritis, porcine pneumonia, PRRS.

Poultry Avian coccidiosis, avian encephalomyelitis, avian infectious bronchitis, avian infectious bursal disease, avian reovirus, chicken anaemia virus, duck virus enteritis, egg drop syndrome 1976, erysipelas, infectious laryngotracheitis, Marek's disease, Newcastle disease, pasteurellosis, post-natal colibacillosis, salmonellosis, swollen head syndrome, turkey haemorrhagic enteritis, turkey rhinotracheitis.

Fish Enteric redmouth disease, furunculosis, vibriosis (vibrio anguillarum, vibrio salmonicida and Vibrio viscosus (now named moratella viscosus)).

Usually in the spring prior to turning out on pasture, some vaccinations are to be given when calves are born, while some are to be given when they are yearlings. Most calves are vaccinated a few weeks prior to being weaned or at weaning time. Calves should be vaccinated for Blackleg (Clostridium 8- or 9-way), BRD, IBR, PI3, and BRSV. 

Cows, on the other hand, are vaccinated only if there's a history of a certain disease in your herd or area. IBR-BVD is one vaccine that should be administered to cows no matter where you are or what your herd health history is. 

Vaccination schedules depends on what type of cattle you are raising, their age, diet, your area, and (for cow-calf herds) reproductive stages.

It is unclear how the prohibition of vaccine in Europe will affect the UK after Brexit. Most of our dairy products are traded with the EU so it is likely this situation will change.

Whilst Defra currently support badger culling in the belief that badgers can pass on bTB back to cattle, they also confirm that once bTB is in the herd it is hard to remove. 

"It is estimated that more than 20% of all breakdown herds in the HRA retain infected animals after all skin testing has been completed and restrictions have been lifted. This substantial residual herd infection contributes to the high rate of recurrence we see in the HRA where nearly 60% of breakdowns occur in herds that have sustained a breakdown in the previous three years." -  DEFRA SEPTEMBER 2016. 

An improved skin test is essential in the fight against bTB.

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) includes M. tuberculosis (the cause of most human tuberculosis), M. bovis, M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG, the vaccine strain), M. africanum, and M. microti . M. bovis is the main cause of tuberculosis in cattle, deer, and other mammals. The human bacillus M. tuberculosis may have evolved from M. bovis in the setting of animal domestication. Human M. bovis infection generally occurs in the setting of consumption of infected cow's milk products.

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