THE government, as part of England's TB eradication strategy, has extended a consultation to tackle bTB by seeking targeted badger culling in specific areas alongside badger and cattle vaccination.

Proposals were launched in March, focusing on retaining badger culling as an option in High-Risk and Edge Areas, mostly in southwest and central England.

Cattle farmers in England now have an extended deadline of May 13 to respond, with bTB considered one of England's most challenging animal health issues, leading to significant cattle culling annually.

While emphasising following scientific evidence, the government notes a near 20-year low in new bTB breakdowns in cattle and a 56% reduction in bTB breakdown rates in areas where badger culling was conducted for four years.

READ MORE | Jeremy Clarkson says badgers are shot at Diddly Squat Farm

The proposed measures, subject to a five-week consultation, aim to keep culling as an option in High-Risk and Edge Areas until disease improvement is deemed, with subsequent use of badger vaccination to maintain achieved results.

The UK's CVO Christine Middlemiss, highlights progress toward eradicating the disease in England by 2038 and underscores decisions being evidence-led.

The consultation focuses on High-Risk and Edge Areas, with the High-Risk Area spanning much of southwest and central England, while the Edge Area borders it.

The policy for identifying Low-Risk Area hotspots continues, and farmers in England are being encouraged to provide feedback online through DEFRA until May 13.