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Brexit and bovine TB could be 'double whammy' for beef and dairy industries

By failing to take positive action to tackle the on-going bovine TB situation, Brexit could spell disaster for the dairy and beef sectors. 

 

The Welsh Government has been warned that by failing to take positive action to tackle the on-going bovine TB situation Brexit could mean a double whammy for the beef and dairy industries in Wales.

 

During a cross party Senedd debate on Wednesday Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Simon Thomas, said the combined effect of a loss of funding towards the bovine TB eradication scheme and no guarantee that British beef would comply to EU standards could spell disaster for the dairy and beef sectors.

 

With the support of Conservative and UKIP AMs, he said a new eradication policy was a necessity with culling not only of cattle but infected badgers being part of it.

 

While there was no positive commitment forthcoming from Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, a wide-ranging statement on the way ahead has been scheduled for three weeks’ time.

 

“The Labour government has failed to get to grip with the problem of TB in Wales. Despite the existence of a bTB eradication programme, instances of TB in cattle have stayed persistently high in west Wales and is increasing in new areas in Carmarthenshire,” said Mr Thomas.

 

“Currently, 60 per cent of the cost of our bTB eradication scheme is covered by the EU. This funding stream will come to an end when Britain withdraws from the EU so this could pose serious problems.

 

“Wales is currently part of the Single Market and our bTB eradication scheme is based on EU regulations and has EU approval. However there is a danger that Brexit will jeopardise our reputation which could damage sales.

 

“If bTB rates rise, we could face a situation where EU countries refuse to import British beef, as happened during the BSE crisis.

 

“Brexit could mean a double whammy for the beef and dairy sector. TB infection can devastate farms and livelihoods, so it is important that we have an effective scheme that minimises infection.

 

“The Labour Government has proven itself ineffective until now, but it needs to step up and act for the sake of the industry.”


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