"Thank you for contacting me about bovine TB and badger culling. Bovine TB is one of the most serious diseases facing our livestock industry. Last year over 36,000 cattle were slaughtered and the annual costs of control measures reached £108.4m. Since 1997, around 250,000 cattle have been slaughtered at a total cost of over £600m. The emotional and financial toll on farmers is considerable, as underlined by a recent report by Farm Crisis Network.
As you are aware, the Government has committed that as part of a package of measures, it will introduce a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine TB.
Please be assured that I am considering all the issues carefully, including the scientific evidence, to work out the detail of the package to ensure we get it right and we are looking at vaccine options as part of that package. I want to see healthy wildlife alongside healthy cattle.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.