Farmers Voice TB Concerns At Chief Vet Meeting

UK - NFU Cymru Members in Montgomeryshire gathered at Cwm Berllan, Sarn last week to meet the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr. Christianne Glossop to discuss their very real concerns regarding bovine TB.
calendar icon 18 June 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

With over 60 farmers present, many of whom are suffering from rigorous TB restrictions on their own farms, the message to Dr. Glossop was frank and blunt - that farmers expect eradication of this disease to be the objective and government have for too long ignored the role that infected wildlife plays in spreading this disease.

NFU Cymru’s Vice-Chairman for the county, David Jones, who farms in Kerry said, “The long-term objective of any TB strategy should not be mere containment, but the eradication of this disease. We want to see not only a cattle population free of the disease, but also a healthy wildlife population free of the disease. For far too long, TB control measures have focused exclusively on the disease in cattle and have ignored the role that wildlife play as disease reservoirs and in spreading the disease.”

Mr Jones added, “There can be no doubting the relationship that exists between the incidence of TB in wildlife and TB in cattle and we cannot hope to resolve this serious problem by focusing solely on the disease in cattle. No one should be deluded into thinking that doing nothing to tackle the disease in wildlife is a positive step for the wildlife concerned or the 6,000 or so cattle that were slaughtered in the last year in Wales, because of bovine TB.

“It should not be forgotten that diseased badgers, of which there are many, suffer a lingering and painful death. Failing to tackle the disease in wildlife is not compassionate, but instead increases the risk of healthy animals contracting and spreading a debilitating and dreadful disease.”

Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru’s Vice-President and a livestock farmer from Meirionnydd was also present at the meeting. “Farmers fully acknowledge the part they have to play in the eradication of this disease, but our goodwill, engagement and co-operation is now entirely contingent upon the Assembly introducing a strategy that includes the effective control of diseased wildlife,” he said.

“A strategy that is anything but comprehensive in its scope represents more wasted effort and money on the part of government and farmers. We now have a new Assembly Government in place and quite frankly any more dragging of feet on the issue of wildlife and TB will not be tolerated and will simply be a further disregard of responsibility by the Welsh Assembly Government, which is just not acceptable,” added Mr Bailey.

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