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Welsh bovine TB policy ‘not fit for purpose’ as cattle slaughterings spike

Almost one-third of all cattle slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB in the last 12 months have come from the county of Pembrokeshire, new research has revealed.

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Welsh bovine TB policy ‘not fit for purpose’ as cattle slaughterings spike

Almost one-third of all cattle slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB in the last 12 months have come from the county of Pembrokeshire, new research has revealed.

 

Government statistics found 3,731 cattle were culled in the county up to the end of April 2019 and the total number of animals slaughtered in Wales due to TB was up 19 per cent year-on-year.

 

The situation in the high incidence area in West Wales, which includes Pembrokeshire and large parts of neighbouring counties Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, also saw a 27 per cent increase year-on year.

 

Speaking at Pembrokeshire County Show on August 13, NFU Cymru county Pembrokeshire chairwoman Clare Morgan said the community was nearly two years into the refreshed bTB programme, but Defra’s latest figures were proof ‘the policies currently in place simply are not eradicating the disease’.


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She said: “There is a stark contrast when you compare what is happening in the high risk areas in England where the disease is being addressed in both the cattle and wildlife populations, and where the most recent statistics show that the vast majority of these counties have seen falling numbers of cattle slaughtered and fewer herds under restriction.

 

Strategy

“This shows the benefits of a bTB eradication strategy where Government and farmers are working in genuine partnership to tackle this horrendous disease, and where there is a wildlife policy delivered by farmers, but supported and designed in partnership with Government.

 

“NFU Cymru wrote to the Minister [Lesley Griffiths] earlier this year to highlight our willingness to work with Welsh Government on a similar approach in Wales, and that offer remains on the table.”

 

Last month Ms Griffiths ruled out a badger cull in Wales.

 

Dairy farmer Roger Lewis, who farms just outside Pembrokeshire, lost a large percentage of his 350 Holstein milking cows last year, with 53 reactors in just one test.

 

Mr Lewis said: “All the effort seems to be on testing and removing the infection on-farm – which obviously we have got to do – but the frustration is reaching boiling point because we are seeing good evidence coming out from across the border and we know the disease in the wildlife population in Wales has got to be an issue.

 

“Only one-third of breakdowns were attributed to cattle movements so two-thirds has to come down to something else.”

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