31 Aug 2009

Public communication essential in fight against bovine TB

6:34 am on 31 August 2009

A bovine tuberculosis expert has highlighted the need for effective communication with the public as one of the key elements to fighting the disease.

Christianne Glossop, the chief veterinarian for Wales, attended the international bovine TB conference held in Wellington last week.

She says last year 12,000 TB-infected cattle were slaughtered in Wales where the infection rate can reach as high as 15% in some areas.

Dr Glossop says it is particularly bad where there's a big population of badgers, which can carry and pass on the disease to cattle.

She says Wales could learn some things from New Zealand, which has a low infection rate, in particular about ensuring co-operation between central and local Government, farmers and the veterinary sector to tackle the disease.

But Dr Glossop says it's also important to communicate with the public about any concerns they may have over how the disease is best managed - whether that's using 1080 to kill possums, or whether it's the view with which the public regard killing badgers in Britain.

She says it's vital people form their views based on the best possible information and evidence available.

Dr Glossop says effective communication with the public is essential.