You may be aware that environmental matters are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Scotland has been declared by the European Commission to be Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) since September 2009. The Commission attributed this to the success of Scotland’s livestock industry working in conjunction with government. The Scottish Government has also introduced a range of measures to protect bovine tuberculosis-free status, including tissue sampling at farm visits, an epidemiological risk assessment, tracing cattle, contiguous herd assessments, and two consecutive tests with negative results to retain bTB free status.
I am nevertheless pleased that my SNP colleague Paul Monaghan MP has managed to secure this important debate in Parliament, which will scrutinise the cost and evidence for a badger cull in England and highlight some important lessons from Scotland on achieving bovine tuberculosis-free status.