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RABDF Calls For TB To Be Top Of Agenda

13 May 2010

UK - The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has appealed to the new coalition government to give the dairy sector prominence within in its food and agriculture policy agenda, and recommence pre-election discussions on the common ground shared on bovine TB control.

“We look forward to working with a new Defra team which we trust will move farming back up the political agenda,” comments RABDF chairman, David Cotton. “The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats made a very clear commitment prior to the election to introduce a comprehensive package of measures to control TB, including a science based targeted control in hotspot areas.

“The two parties now have the opportunity to nail their true colours to the mast and show they are prepared to influence and drive change to current TB policy within government. We urge that discussions are initiated immediately in order to prevent any further spread of this insidious disease and stem the massive tax payer spend on needless culling of reactors which last year cost tax payers £90m for 40,000 head,” he explains.

“We are also calling for other policies that can potentially cause dramatic effects within the dairy industry to be discussed by both parties. In the first instance we are urging an overhaul of the previous government’s Responsibility and Cost Sharing proposals and implement a schedule which excludes farmers from picking up the tab,” says Mr Cotton.

“While we have already supported the principles of responsibility and cost sharing and continue to believe that they can have the potential to deliver improved animal health within the national livestock population, we would however urge government to ‘slow down’ the policy decision making on the proposed Animal Health Bill.

“We need to have access to detailed evidence of how the previous government’s proposed non-departmental public body, the Animal Health Organisation (AHO), can be achieved without impacting on the industry’s wallet any further than through implementing bio-security and taking other proactive measures that already take place.”

He adds: “We will also be appealing for government to ensure that the issue of Country of Origin labelling of dairy products is included in plans to reform labelling. Dairy products were notable from their omission within the Conservative’s Honest Food Campaign, so we will be seeking meetings with Defra officials at the earliest opportunity to ensure they support changes to the way products are labelled.”

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