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TB Battle Begins in Wales

08 December 2008

UK - “The battle against bovine Tb has truly started.” This was the clear message set out by Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christianne Glossop at Clwyd NFU Cymru’s Annual General Meeting this week.

NFU Cymru’s County President Ken Bellis chaired the meeting and welcomed Dr. Glossop to County at a time when the industry had been ‘plagued’ by animal disease, with foot & mouth last autumn, the threat of bluetongue all summer and of course the ever increasing problems linked to bovine Tb.

In her address Dr. Glossop was clear in her objectives and said, “I have two very clear priorities, the first being to eradicate Tb from the industry and the second is to ensure that we can identify immediately any outbreak of exotic disease and stamp on it speedily.

“Tb is a huge issue, with the Welsh Assembly Government spending close to £22million on compensation for infected cattle alone this year. This level of spending cannot continue, we need to get on top of the disease and I believe that the programme of measures that we now have in place here in Wales will begin to work given time. It is very unlikely that we will see success immediately, in fact we may well see an increase in the level of Tb initially but I’m confident we can make a difference in the medium to long term.”


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"Certainly in my mind Tb is very much like the foot and mouth disease but in slow motion."
Dr. Glossop

Dr Glossop ended her address saying, “Certainly in my mind Tb is very much like the foot and mouth disease but in slow motion. Just like foot and mouth it is an epidemic, it is certainly equally distressing for those producers whose herds have Tb and it is a huge and complex problem to tackle, but I assure you that from my perspective the battle against Tb here in Wales has truly begun.”

The meeting also heard from NFU Cymru’s Vice President Ed Bailey who said, “Times are changing dramatically. Just in the last 12 months no one takes the supply of food for granted and its production and security of supply is of increasing concern to us all. With a rapidly expanding world population and climate change impacting greatly on the ability of many other countries around the globe to maintain production levels the opportunity is clearly there for Welsh agriculture in the long-term.

“Of course it would be naïve of us not to acknowledge that there are also some major challenges ahead as well as opportunities, not least in terms of the impact on our sheep flocks of electronic identification and of course further reform of the Common Agriculture Policy in the medium term.”

Ed Bailey ended, “Equally clear though is the support that can be offered by government not least our own Welsh Assembly Government. We challenged the Minister Elin Jones to ‘eat Welsh’ for a week which I am very pleased she has done. We now look to other Assembly Members and indeed the Assembly as a whole to follow her lead. There are clear opportunities for the Welsh Assembly Government to lead by example and much better promote local procurement. Let’s have systems in place which actively encourages the serving of local produce in our public canteens and cafeterias.”

Richard Tomlinson, NFU Cymru County Chairman in Clwyd reflected on his year in office as Chairman and said, “It has been a huge privilege for me to represent Clwyd members in the Union’s Centenary Year. One hundred years is a remarkable achievement and a fitting record to all those who have served the Union during that time. I am immensely proud to be part of this great organisation which I know will continue to rise to the many challenges that will face farmers and the farming industry in the years ahead.”

The NFU Cymru leaders in Clwyd remain unchanged for the coming year, Richard Tomlinson of Minera will remain as Chairman and Ceiriog Jones of Derwen as Vice-Chairman, both will take the County Branch through to 2010.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.

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