MP BILL Wiggin has hit out at the European Union for handicapping the UK in its battle against TB in cattle.
How to tackle Bovine TB, which results in the slaughter of thousands of beasts every year, is one of the most contentious issues in agriculture with a number of solutions proposed, including culling badgers, which are believed to carry the disease, inoculating badgers or inoculating cattle.
“My preference would be to use a cattle vaccine, but the European Union is preventing us from doing that," said Mr Wiggin, who is North Herefordshire's MP and runs a small herd of Hereford cattle at his farm near Ledbury.
He was speaking after a statement on the Government’s strategy for TB and its assessment of the recent badger culls.
Currently cattle are skin tested for TB, but Mr Wiggin claimed the skin test is "clearly failing".
He added: "The Government is consulting on a risk-based trading strategy which is completely flawed because it is based on the skin test, and the electronic device that Nottingham Trent university is working on is supposed to be three years away.
"What can the Secretary of State do to save my constituents from the total loss of condemned carcases and having their time wasted on futile consultations, all because we do not have a proper skin test?”
Environment secretary Owen Paterson responded: "I do not entirely agree with all my Hon. Friend’s comments.
"We are all, sadly, very aware of the ineffectiveness of some of our technology.
"We know that BCG (anti-TB) is not a perfect vaccine, and we are fully aware that the skin test is not a perfect individual animal test, but it is currently the method used in every other country with a major problem of TB in cattle and it does give a broad result, within which other countries have managed to bring this disease down.”