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24 April 2017 | Online since 2003


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11 January 2017 11:57:04 |Animal Health,Cattle,News,NFU

Bovine TB: 'Refreshed strategy needed to remove reservoir of infection in wildlife'


NFU Cymru response to Welsh Government document ‘A refreshed TB eradication programme’

NFU Cymru response to Welsh Government document ‘A refreshed TB eradication programme’

Welsh farmers are ‘as frustrated as they have ever been’ with the impact bovine TB is having on Wales, according to the NFU Cymru.
As part of its formal response to the Welsh Government’s ‘A refreshed TB eradication programme’ consultation document, NFU Cymru said it could not accept further cattle controls without action also being taken to actively address the disease in wildlife.
NFU Cymru welcomes the recognition from the Welsh Government in the consultation document on the need to take appropriate interventions to break the transmission routes of disease between cattle and wildlife.
However, the Union maintains that a refreshed strategy must feature a focus on moving forward with proposals to actively break this link and removing the reservoir of infection in the wildlife population in endemic areas of Wales.
'Number of concerns'
In its response to the consultation, NFU Cymru has voiced a number of concerns over the six-monthly testing period proposed for high TB areas.
This includes increased costs, health and safety concerns, and the increased likelihood that tests will fall at inconvenient times, such as harvest or when cattle are heavily pregnant or calving.
NFU Cymru emphasises that the Union is 'generally supportive' of targeting controls and actions that are specific to the disease prevalence in the local area.
The Union says its members are 'clear' that any zoning of Wales into TB areas should not take place until the current County Parish Holding (CPH) rationalisation programme is complete, so as not to add further 'complication and confusion' to livestock movement rules.
'Overwhelming frustration'
NFU Cymru’s comprehensive consultation response is based on feedback following county meetings, national commodity board meetings and individual feedback received from members.
NFU Cymru President Stephen James said: “All the feedback we have received shares one common theme – an overwhelming frustration that bovine TB continues to wreak havoc for farming businesses and families across Wales, while the reservoir of disease in wildlife remains unaddressed.
“Until now, Welsh Government has failed to implement a comprehensive eradication strategy to tackle a disease that continues to claim the lives of cattle in their prime – recent figures show nearly 10,000 cattle were slaughtered over a 12 month period as a result of TB.
“Cattle keepers take their disease control responsibilities extremely seriously and farm under stringent and restrictive cattle controls. As each year goes by these cattle controls have increased.
Mr James concluded: “Any suggestion of further cattle controls without taking appropriate measures to also tackle the reservoir of disease in wildlife is incomprehensible from a farmer’s perspective.”
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