Welsh Farmers Concerned over Cattle TB Figures, Strategy

WALES, UK - The worsening Bovine TB disease situation in the county was the major talking point at a recent meeting of the Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru county branch.
calendar icon 15 June 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

Recently published official government statistics shows that there has been a staggering year on year increase of 78 per cent in the number of cattle slaughtered in Pembrokeshire as a result of Bovine TB.

In the 12 months up to the end of February 2016 a total of 2523 cattle were culled due to bovine TB in the county, whereas for the same 12 month period up to end of February 2015 this figure was 1412 cattle lost from Pembrokeshire.

Speaking after the meeting, Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru County Chairman, Walter Simon said: “Whilst we respect that TB statistics will vary from month to month and year to year the massive increase reported in the number of cattle slaughtered in Pembrokeshire as a result of Bovine Tb is a big concern to farmers in the county.”

The Welsh Government has also recently published the report on Year 4 of badger vaccination in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) in North Pembrokeshire. The report revealed that a total of 1118 badgers were vaccinated in 2015 in the IAA by the Welsh Government at a total cost of £922,012 - this equates to a cost of £824 per badger vaccinated.

Commenting on the report Mr Simon said: “NFU Cymru has always maintained that vaccination can have a role to play in a TB eradication strategy although we have always questioned its use and worth in a TB endemic area. The fact that there is a global shortage of BCG vaccine means that badger vaccination is not an option for this new Welsh Government.

“Bovine TB continues to cause untold heartache and stress to our cattle farmers, stringent cattle testing and movement controls will not eradicate this disease alone and action must be taken to remove the infection from badgers.

"We also must remember that cattle farmers in the IAA have additional stringent cattle controls to adhere to; in light of the suspension of the badger vaccination programme in the IAA these additional controls should be urgently reviewed.”

Mr Simon concluded: “A key priority in our manifesto for the recent National Assembly for Wales elections was for a TB eradication strategy that removes disease from cattle and wildlife.

"We look to the new Welsh Government to clearly set out a plan for comprehensive TB eradication strategy which includes actively removing the disease from the wildlife population. A comprehensive TB eradication strategy is a key strand in helping to achieve our vision of a productive, profitable and progressive Welsh agricultural industry.”

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