Comments made by a Welsh Labour politician in relation to farming families affected by bovine TB have been slammed as 'deplorable, insensitive and shocking'.
Joyce Watson, who is Member of Senedd for Mid & West, suggested farms with 'perpetual TB infection status' should 'find another business'.
The comments were made during yesterday's (14 November) plenary session in the Senedd, which saw the Minister for Rural Affairs make a statement on bovine TB eradication.
During the ensuing discussion, Ms Watson said: “But if we’re talking about a rethink, Minister, have you looked at any farms that have perpetual TB status, and have you considered the question of whether those particular farms should be dairy farms at all?
"Because if it is the case that they are in perpetual TB infection status, surely they need to find another business.”
The comments have been met with anger by many within the farming industry, prompting NFU Cymru to write to Ms Watson to "underline the hurt such comments have caused to the many farming families affected by bovine TB".
In the letter, NFU Cymru Bovine TB Focus Group Chairman Roger Lewis said he was 'struggling' to comprehend 'such deplorable comments' by a Member of the Senedd.
He said the comments were "lacking in empathy and respect" for the farming families in Mid & West Wales "going through the emotional hell of dealing with an outbreak of bovine TB on their farm".
Mr Lewis wrote: "Your suggestion that these families, many of whom are suffering persistent bovine TB breakdowns despite adhering to strict veterinary and scientific advice, should just walk away and find another business is – frankly – shocking.
“I invite you to spend a day with us to learn more about this work. A visit would also provide you with the opportunity to meet some of the farming families who are determined to find a way to rid this disease from our countryside.
"[They] certainly have no intention of walking away and finding something else to do, as you suggested yesterday.”