BARBARA BOYCE (Letters, August 23) highlights an emotive issue and that is the devastation being caused by bovine TB. Last year more than 32,000 cattle were needlessly slaughtered as a result of this terrible disease.

Yorkshire and the north east remain largely TB free and there is no evidence of the disease in our wildlife. We want to keep it that way, and support Government proposals to tackle TB head on in areas where it is rife.

We believe this must involve tackling the increasingly diseased badger population in hotspot areas – essentially to break the cycle of infection.

The package of measures being considered by the Government is exactly that – a wide range of measures that includes all the suggestions made by Ms Boyce, such as increased levels of cattle testing, improved farm bio-security and stricter controls on cattle movements.

Sadly, this alone will not halt the spread of TB and the latest evidence suggests a targeted cull of badgers in hotspot areas would make an important contribution to the fight against this disease.

Ms Boyce also refers to the role of vaccination, but this is likely to be at least five years away.

Barney Kay, Regional director, NFU North East, Tadcaster Road, York.