Welsh Government
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Chief Veterinary Officer visits Ethiopia to look at vaccinating cattle against TB

Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr Christianne Glossop, has returned from a week’s tour of Ethiopia to see its bovine TB cattle vaccination project. Ethiopia has one of the largest cattle populations in the world, with an economy highly dependent on livestock. It also has a significant challenge with bovine TB.

Dr Glossop began her trip in the Ethiopian capital city, Addis Ababa, meeting the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tefera Derbew , and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Dr Bewket Siraw Adgeh to discuss TB eradication.

The Welsh Government believes that cattle vaccination could contribute to TB eradication and is keen to explore all options. It is developing a vaccination strategy, the first stage of which will be technical trials, and is working closely with the European Commission and colleagues in England. Legislation and technical issues mean European countries are not currently able to use such a vaccine.

Dr Glossop says:

“We want to develop a sustainable relationship with Ethiopia. They have practical experience of vaccinating cattle against TB and we have been focussing on TB testing, biosecurity and movement restrictions. There are opportunities for us to both help and learn from each other.

“Considering options for vaccination as part of our eradication plan is a priority for the Welsh Government.  We know it is going to take time to get there, and that there are hurdles to be overcome but we are keen to do all we can to accelerate the process.

“This visit to Ethiopia confirmed my view that cattle vaccination can only form part of a comprehensive TB eradication programme.”

After her meetings in Addis Ababa, the CVO visited a number of farms across the country to consider how lessons learned in Wales might feed into the establishment of training seminars and workshops for Ethiopian vets and cattle keepers. Dr Glossop visited Awash and Ziway before travelling into the country’s highlands. She visited different types of cattle production including mixed farms and commercial dairy herds, as well as spending time with the Afar tribe of pastoralists.  She met people benefiting from Send a Cow charity projects, and also lectured at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture in Debra Zeit.

Looking to the future Dr Glossop said:

“We are forming a working group with our Ethiopian contacts to develop collaborative opportunities. I hope some of the group’s members will visit Wales later this year and I plan to return to Ethiopia, as part of Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.”

Last December Dr Glossop chaired an international workshop in Cardiff to advance thinking on the role that a cattle vaccine should play in TB eradication. Her observations from this Ethiopian trip will feed into further deliberations following publication of the workshop’s report in March.

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