More than half of all farmers who lodged an appeal against imposed fines for overdue TB tests in Wales have been rejected.
Welsh Government figures revealed 58 of 109 appeals lodged in March and 62 of 112 in April were unsuccessful with more than a quarter still being investigated.
The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) previously said cross compliance penalties were ‘immoral’ and often threatened the health and safety of testing cattle.
FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright argued farmers should not be penalised for ‘unavoidable’ situations which should be remembered when making penalty decisions.
“We would welcome a more proportionate approach in such cases which takes into account genuine testing difficulties which could compromise farmer safety.”
- Dr Hazel Wright
She said: “The FUW previously made representations to Welsh Government on those penalties received by farmers where testing was delayed due to genuine health and safety concerns.
“We would welcome a more proportionate approach in such cases which takes into account genuine testing difficulties which could compromise farmer safety.
“As highlighted repeatedly by the FUW, the TB regulations should allow for discretion to remove cross compliance penalties if certain circumstances result in overdue tests, and the penalty system employed by Welsh Government must therefore ensure that farmers are not unfairly penalised for circumstances that are out with their control.”
Farmers who submit TB tests more than 30 days overdue are subject to 5 per cent penalty, with the failure considered a ‘severe breach’ of cross-compliance.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We recognise some situations which lead to a TB test becoming overdue are unavoidable. European rules allow some discretion to take account of exceptional or unforeseen circumstances.
“Cattle keepers are reminded they should try, as far as possible, to arrange their TB tests as early as possible in the testing window to ensure a test can be completed in good time.”