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NFU Cymru responds to Welsh Government bovine TB announcement

Last updated: 20 Jun 2017

Bovine TB announcement_44553

NFU Cymru has welcomed the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM’s, announcement on bovine TB as a ‘step forward’ in tackling the disease in Wales.

The Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, on Tuesday 20th June, focussed on a regionalised approach to eliminating bovine TB in Wales.

NFU Cymru President Stephen James said: “For many years NFU Cymru has stated that the only way to truly address bovine TB in Wales is to address the disease in both the cattle and wildlife populations. Today’s announcement acknowledges the presence of the disease in wildlife and provides positive measures on how to do this, including the trapping and testing of badgers on farms experiencing chronic breakdowns, where there is evidence of infection in the badger population. This targeted approach will mean that only diseased badgers are culled and this is a step forward towards achieving the government and industry’s shared aim of a bovine TB-free Wales.

“NFU Cymru is generally supportive of targeted bovine TB controls and actions that are specific to the disease incidence in the area, whether that be in the cattle and/or wildlife populations depending on the risk status of the area. It is vital that the changes to the cattle controls put forward by the Cabinet Secretary are administered concurrently with the suggested measures to reduce the disease spread in wildlife in order to comprehensively tackle the problem. Time is of the essence and it is important that these changes are administered quickly in order to prevent further culling of cattle and suffering in the badger population.

“Chronic breakdown herds will have individual action plans drawn up with disease control measures specifically aimed at clearing up infection in cattle. We would highlight the importance of these being drawn up through a partnership approach between the Government case vet, the farmer’s own vet and the farmer. It is important to ensure that the action plan is practical, reasonable, deliverable and manageable for farmers.

“It is clear that the Cabinet Secretary and her colleagues in Welsh Government have listened to the numerous concerns raised by the industry during the consultation process. It is pleasing to see that industry’s concerns over the proposals for routine six-monthly testing of all herds in High TB Areas, in particular, have been heeded.

“We also welcome the fact that the Welsh Government has made positive changes to the proposals within the consultation with regards to dealing with Inconclusive Reactors, and also that the clearing TB test, in most circumstances, will now continue to be able to be used as a pre-movement test in High TB Areas. This means, for these farms, they will be able to move livestock 60 days earlier than was proposed in the consultation.

“NFU Cymru welcomes today’s announcement and is committed to working with the Welsh Government and our industry colleagues on this renewed and effective approach to tackling bovine TB in Wales.”

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