The myth: In an article in the Mail on Sunday on 21 October, Brian May claims that the UK can already vaccinate cattle against TB if it wants to.
The truth: Cattle vaccination is not currently permitted in the UK. If cattle were vaccinated using a vaccine that is not licensed by the EU, Britain would no longer be able to export beef or dairy products, at an estimated cost to the industry of £2.2bn.
Before a vaccine can be used, we must be able to demonstrate we have a test which can tell the difference between an animal that is infected with TB or one that has been vaccinated. We’re working on this test (known as the “DIVA test”) as quickly as possible but it is still some way off being ready to use.