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From the editor: Politicians must never forget the horror bovine TB wreaks

farm lifeBrexit

The slaughter of yet another herd of cattle because of the effects of bovine TB serves to reinforce the misery the disease causes to scores of farmers across the country.

 

At a time when geo-political issues seem to dominate the agenda, from Brexit to the outbursts of US President Donald Trump, it could be easy for those in charge to forget about the everyday challenges our farming community faces.

 

Yet while the political intensity may have increased, the pitfalls faced by farmers and their families have gone nowhere. For many, the main challenge they face is the chaos and strife wrought by bTB on their livelihoods.

 

The slaughter of Ernie Durose’s pedigree Guernsey herd highlights how, in the blink of an eye, more than 60 years of careful breeding and genetics were decimated. On a personal level the impact on Mr Durose has been immense, but he also faced up to a potential cashflow crisis now the cows have gone.

 

This tragic case is another reminder of the real crisis at the heart of the livestock industry and one which Governments have failed, at times, to get a grip of.

 

Many farmers welcome the cull of badgers in England and there is no doubt Defra, with support of the NFU and landowners in the cull areas, has started to wage war on the disease in recent years, even in the face of toxic opposition from the anti-cull brigade.

 

Many in Wales continue to call on the National Assembly to do the same, but as the debate rages about whether vaccination is the right way forward, tempers on both sides become increasingly frayed in the devolved administration.

 

Whatever the way forward in tackling this disease, it is vital Governments show they are backing the farming community in the battle against bTB and remember the real pain this dreadful problem causes to members of the rural community.

 

And finally...

 

Turn to classified for our special Smallholder supplement. Whether you farm on a large or small scale, there will be something in there for you.

Farmers Guardian
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