With the current Welsh Government‘s term coming to an end NFU Cymru this week stepped up its campaign for a fresh TB eradication programme – with tackling the disease in wildlife the top priority.
The latest figures show that in 2015, 8,103 cattle were culled in Wales as a result of bovine TB – a 27 per cent increase on 2014 figures when 6,378 cattle were slaughtered.
“Since 2008 over 68,000 cattle in Wales have been slaughtered because of this disease, despite the fact that Welsh farmers have adhered to stringent cattle movement and testing controls,” said NFU Cymru president, Stephen James.
“This disease continues to cause untold heartache and stress to cattle farmers across Wales and places an enormous emotional and financial strain on farming families.
“While we recognise that the picture is more complex than just looking at one statistic, these figures should make politicians from all parties in Wales sit up and take notice of the impact that bovine TB continues to have in Wales.
“The new Welsh Government, following May’s National Assembly elections, must come forward and be prepared to work with the industry on a comprehensive plan of action that tackles this disease in both the cattle and wildlife population,” he added.
“Cattle movement controls, cattle testing and biosecurity all have a vital role to play in a TB eradication plan, but experience from across the globe has shown that a genuine TB eradication plan must also include a strategy for dealing with the disease reservoir in wildlife in areas where it is endemic.
“The fact that there is a global shortage of BCG vaccine means that no politician or party can hide behind badger vaccination as the sole policy for dealing with the disease in wildlife.
“Ahead of the elections we are asking all the parties to clearly set out their policy for dealing with the reservoir of infection in our wildlife populations.
“Our manifesto for the elections places a TB eradication strategy that removes disease from cattle and wildlife as a key priority in helping to achieve our vision of a productive, profitable and progressive Welsh agricultural industry.
“We will be looking for the next Welsh Government to take action as a matter of urgency.”