The Welsh Government has hit back at accusations badger vaccination in the Intensive Action Area (IAA) was failing, with new evidence of a 35 per cent drop in new cases of bovine TB.
The IAA was established in North Pembrokeshire in 2010 as an area where increased measures would be applied to tackle all sources of bovine TB. These included stricter cattle controls, improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and testing of all goats and camelids.
The report said the initiative was working, with the disease situation in the IAA improving faster than in a nearby comparison area, where incidence fell by 23 per cent over the same period.
New incidences are now at their lowest in 12 years.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, said the eradication programme had made ‘significant progress’ and hinted a more regional response would be next on the agenda.
She confirmed the recent 22 per cent increase in the number of cattle slaughtered did ‘not reflect a worsening situation’ but was instead due to an increase in gamma testing.
“We have made significant progress since we began our TB eradication programme in 2008 and more than 95 per cent of herds in Wales are now TB free,” she added.
“While some will attribute this to herd numbers falling in recent years, it is important to note the proportion of these herds with TB has also reduced by 26 per cent since 2008.
“The report is encouraging and shows, over time, all the measures used in the IAA have had a positive impact on the disease.”
Ms Griffiths is set to make a statement on the future of the Government’s TB eradication programme later this month.