Catalogue description Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: State Veterinary Service: Maps and Statistics Relating to Bovine Tuberculosis: Datasets

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Details of MAF 430
Reference: MAF 430
Title: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: State Veterinary Service: Maps and Statistics Relating to Bovine Tuberculosis: Datasets

This series contains datasets compiled and used by the State Veterinary Service (SVS) in monitoring Bovine Tuberculosis in Great Britain. The Bovine TB dataset was designed by Dr Roger Sainsbury as part of his work as a Veterinary Officer for the SVS in Truro. The purpose of this data was to assist Veterinary Officers working in the field. The work was part of the GB-wide tuberculosis management programme. The Tuberculosis (England and Wales) Order 1984 (made under Sections 32 and 34 of The Animal Health Act 1981), covers this programme of work; as does the SVS Chapter 23.

The datasets record the incidence of tuberculosis among cattle in Great Britain from 1977 to 2002; and record of incidence of tuberculosis among badgers, as potential carriers of disease, from 1972 to 1998. The system links data showing incidence of TB to computer-generated maps; the original name of the database was 'TB Maps & Stats'.

  • It made cattle data available in the OUTPUT mapping programme.
  • It displayed data in a graphic format printout which was useful for field investigations.
  • It included information about badgers which had been examined.
  • It could combine badger and cattle data and give an overall disease picture.

The history of the development of the system can be found in the dataset documentation.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1972-2004

Hardware: Originally developed and run on a Commodore 8096 microcomputer, with additional development work carried out on a BBC Model B microcomputer. Later run on networked PCs in the Truro Animal Health Office; it had also been in use in other West Country offices.

Operating System: The latest version of the system was run under MS-DOS; earlier versions probably ran under CBM DOS (Commodore 8096) and Acorn MOS (BBC Model B).

Application Software: The Bovine TB application, known as"TB Maps & Stats", was developed using the BASIC programming language.

User Interface: The original application comprised several discrete program modules which were accessed by a compiled QBasic menu front end. The original modules included: badger data input; IR TB60 form generation; cattle data entry and updating; TB mapping; TB statistics; parish data updating; and a search module.

Logical structure and schema: The series includes three datasets: the TB Herd database, holding data on the incidence of TB in cattle herds in Devon and Cornwall; the Badger database, holding data on West Country badgers and their post-mortem results; and a Parish database holding data on test intervals in Cornish parishes. The original system was a program system constructed from a number of program modules. There were originally four databases: (1) TB Herd database; (2) Cattle database; (3) Badger database; (4) Parish database. Data from the four separate databases were combined by the different programs to produce the program output.

How data was originally captured and validated: The TB Maps & Stats system began with information collected about badgers; Roger Sainsbury wrote a program in 1982 to produce an output, in tabular form, of badgers and their post-mortem results which had been examined by Veterinary Officers from around tuberculosis breakdown farms.

In 1983, mapping capability was added to the basic badger data. Dr Sainsbury wrote a further program to plot the badger data onto schematic maps covering an area around the breakdown farms. Maps used for investigations by the Animal Health Division at that time were either OS Maps with additional information drawn onto them, or hand-drawn maps which were potentially inaccurate. TB maps were needed in the field, at progress review meetings, and for head office and regional use.

The resulting OUTPUT program was used with success, and maps covering TB farms were produced for vets in Cornwall and Devon for nearly 20 years. From here, a further series of programs were written which constructed a cattle database, in response to the need for TB cattle herds to be included on the maps. The program which generated the maps was modified to access the data to find relevant herds, which were in turn added to the maps.

Data was entered using DOS screen forms created using QBasic. Online instructions were provided, including indicators of valid data for some fields; some validation of data took place during data entry.

Cattle data was input by the TB section at the Animal Health Office, when a TB60 PM sheet was being prepared. The data captured at this point was used to produce the TB Herd database and the cattle database. The information about parishes was input at a very early stage, and was rarely modified. The badger data was input separately, although there were discussions to find a way to transfer badger data electronically from the MAFF badger system.

The system enabled the printout of maps or data lists, on paper, to be used by Veterinary Officers in the field. Among the possible outputs were data about a series of reactors, schematic maps, the TB history of a location or particular farm, parish lists, TB statistics, and some data analysis.

Validation performed after transfer: Details of the content and transformation validation checks performed by NDAD staff on the Bovine TB dataset are contained in the catalogues of individual datasets.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/56
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2001-

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1955-2001

Physical description: 4 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: Certain location, name, address and grid reference fields are closed for 50 years under Section 31a (Law Enforcement) and Section 38 (Health and Safety) of the Freedom of Information Act. The earliest opening will be in 2023. Two items of dataset documentation have been redacted in accordance with the same FOI requirements as above. Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only. Subject to registration under the Data Protection Act.
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) from 2003. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the datasets until 2010 when they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accruals: No further accruals are expected.
Publication note:

On the subject of Bovine TB and badgers: Badgers, Cattle and Tuberculosis: Report to Rt Hon Peter Walker MP by Lord Zuckerman, London, HMSO 1980; Badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis: Report to Rt Hon Michael Jopling MP and Rt Hon Nicholas Edwards MP by Professor G M Dunnet et al, London, HMSO 1986; and Bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers: Report to the Rt Hon Dr Jack Cunningham MP by the Independent Scientific Review Group (Chairman Professor John R Krebs) London, MAFF 1997.

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 23 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1984 - 2004

Administrative / biographical background:

The present method of recording Bovine TB information for the State Veterinary Service is by using the Great Britain-wide VETNET TbiC screens. The VETNET database was created in 1986. The system contains Herd and 'not negative' animal information, dates when tests were carried out, and dates when the next test is due. This system is centrally controlled. It is common practice for local offices of the SVS to keep 'unofficial' spreadsheets where the same information is held, but in a more flexible way for the purposes of manipulation and cross-referencing. Central VETNET administrators would probably consider these local versions as duplications of VETNET.

The State Veterinary Service operates throughout Great Britain on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and the National Assembly for Wales. The tuberculosis management programme is managed by DEFRA. Work on the central VETNET TbiC system was carried out by local veterinary surgeons and DEFRA vets.

These datasets are not VETNET, but a local database and forerunner of the national monitoring system. DEFRA have issued the following disclaimer regarding this dataset: 'This data was collated as part of an individual research programme by a member of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), now DEFRA. As such it must not be regarded as the official record of MAFF but as a representation of the early work in this field which is still ongoing.'

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