Gloucestershire vet writes of bovine TB 'disaster'

Related Stories

A Gloucestershire vet dealing with cattle infected with TB has described the turmoil of "condemning cows to death".

Rob Darvill, from Benson and Babb Vets in Cirencester, wrote a letter to fellow vets, which was published in the Veterinary Times.

It was then posted on social media by the NFU and online by TB Free England.

Mr Darvill likened his position to "watching a disaster unfold... and you're powerless to stop it."

"They aren't just random cows that you're condemning to death," he wrote.

"They're cows that you recognise. Cows that you've been out to calf or to treat.

"I can't put into words how difficult it is to be the bearer of that kind of news."

'Cross your fingers'

Mr Darvill's letter, which has been read online more than 10,000 times, also refers to the dilemma faced by vets when a TB reactor is detected in a herd of healthy cattle.

"It's a disease you always hope you're never going to find in a herd," he added.

"And when you start getting large numbers of reactors, you start crossing your fingers and hoping that the next cow, and the next one, will be clear.

"Because you're watching a disaster unfold in front of you and you're powerless to stop it, or provide any hope or comfort."

A badger cull is due to take place later this year in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire to try to stop the spread of bovine TB among cattle.

The pilot cull will run over a six-week period any time between now and the autumn.

More than 5,000 badgers could be killed.

Animal welfare and wildlife campaigners oppose the cull, during which trained marksmen will shoot badgers when the animals venture out of their setts at night to find food.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Gloucestershire



Min. Night 14 °C


  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

  • Children testing a bridge at a model-making summer school in Crawley, West SussexSeeding science Watch

    The retired professor who turned village children into engineers

  • Krouwa Erick, the doctor in Sipilou town at the border of Ivory Coast and Guinea - 27 August 2014Bad trip

    The Ebola journey no-one in Ivory Coast wants to take

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.