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A costly disease brought to England by the Romans.



The British Government started taking a serious interest in the eradication of Bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis in the national dairy herd around 1938-1939. The Scheme at first was voluntary with incentives. Dairy farmers being invited to join the scheme as long as they were prepared to accept a number of conditions.



·         All the cattle on the farm or holding had to have a number indelibly punched in one of their ears. In addition, a detailed register was required.


·         After each test, all reactors had to be isolated and retested. Then sent for slaughter.


·         An enormous amount of scrubbing took place and disinfection of loose boxes. In addition, hygiene standards were raised in a number of ways.


·         All the perimeter fences had to be double fenced.


·         Ponds, ditches, streams, any stagnant water hand to be securely fenced baring cattle access.



The incentive to farmers to accept the scheme was that the Government would finance the placement of main water drinking troughs in every field that could be enclosed. In many instances it meant that farmers were able to increase their herds, rotate crops and raise food production. Cattle no longer needed to roam large distances to find water. The scheme was a great success with cattle being tested every six months, and the register or movement book being checked and signed by the Village Constable.



I believe that it was Mrs Thatcher's government who relaxed the standards of hygiene for dairy farmers. Now we have cow kennels leading to yards ankle deep in slurry, broken down fences, open ponds of stagnant water and in most cases, poor records or no records at all.