Defra gets bTB figures wrong

Ecologist website has today (Friday 14th February) reported that Defra has quietly released astonishing new figures showing that bTB was declining in autumn 2013, even as Owen Paterson was claiming that it was on the increase.

According to the website, in mid-January Defra released the news that it had been 'overstating' the figures for the incidence of bovine TB due to 'glitches in data entries' since September 2011.

The numbers of herds 'not Officially Free of BTB due to a TB incident' - non-OFT for short - would have to be revised significantly downwards for 2012 and 2013.

The revised figures have now appeared this week, to little fanfare.

While there were some minor revisions to the numbers of new-herd incidents and the number of herds under movement restrictions, the real shock comes in the figures for the non-OFT herds.

During the very period that Paterson had claimed that BTB incidence was increasing, the number of non-OFT herds - those considered to have BTB or to be at serious risk of BTB - dropped.

Among other figures, in Wales, no doubt due to biosecurity measures and the new vaccination policy, there was a 24% fall in new herd infections.

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