With any disease comes the burden of
who pays for it and who benefits? In Canada, beef products are sold based on
supply and demand. If large amounts of beef are being
destroyed due to positive bTB then there is a loss of supply, which increases
the cost of beef for consumers (Conlan et al. 2015). Another reason for potential increase in cost is if
producers are able to sell beef at a premium for “bTB-free” meat (Bennett and Balcombe 2012). It is unknown
whether consumers would be willing to pay more for bTB free labels.

Since 2005 the UK Government has put in strategic plans that aim to
“reduce economic impact of bTB and maintain public health and animal health and
welfare” (Bennett and Balcombe 2012). Some national control measures to reduce risk of bTB include
cattle surveillance, slaughterhouse inspections, heat treatment of milk, and
monitoring human bTB cases (Bennett and Balcombe 2012). Any control plans the government wants to use for bTB are
mediated and formed by civil society (Charles et al. 2013). Some governments, including the EU, currently prohibit the
use of vaccines in cattle because the TST cannot differentiate between infected
and vaccinated animals and will give a false positive (Charles et al. 2013; Conlan et al. 2015). This makes the
control and prevention of bTB outbreaks difficult if vaccines that could reduce
the severity and spread of the disease are prohibited. The
largest problem governments face in controlling bTB is trying to create a quick
and reliable test to determine infection in an animal (Conlan et al. 2015). Since bTB tests are not accurate and reliable to distinguish
infected and vaccinated animals from each other, people are not able to take
advantage of vaccines or send false positive animals to be destroyed (Conlan et al. 2015). New diagnostic tests are programmed to Differentiate
Infected from Vaccinated Animals (DIVA) (Conlan et al. 2015). This would allow countries to include vaccination within
eradication programs since any animals that are vaccinated currently and react
to the TST are thought to be infected and are slaughtered (Conlan et al. 2015). Governments that do not use any vaccination within their
eradication program would require the benefits of vaccination to outweigh any
increase in testing by using DIVA and decrease the probability of culling
infected animals and having to pay compensation to farmer (Conlan et al. 2015). Governments plan to reduce wildlife infecting cattle
populations by culling has failed to decrease the prevalence of bTB in cattle
(Woodroffe et al. 2009) after significantly higher amounts of herd breakdowns
occurred in “reactive culling” areas over “no-cull” areas (Charles et al. 2013). 

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