The Welsh Government’s newly-appointed Farming and Environmental Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, said last week (Thursday, June 16) that she is committed to taking a science led approach when considering all options on the way forward for bovine TB.
Her statement came as the latest figures from the Welsh Government showed the number of herds in Wales under restrictions from TB at the lowest level since 2006.
The data also showed 94.6 per cent of herds in Wales were TB-free during the first quarter of 2016, meaning that over 200 less herds were under restrictions because of a TB incident compared to three years ago.
“Bovine TB is a serious animal health issue and I am committed to building on our long term efforts to eradicate this disease in Wales,” said Mrs Griffiths.
“I welcome the latest data, which reaffirm the fact we are seeing some progress towards achieving this goal, with a continued downward trend in the number of TB breakdowns.
“Of course, the TB picture across Wales is a complex one. It is often assumed the increase in the number of cattle slaughtered means the disease is on the rise.
“In actual fact the increase in the number of cattle slaughtered is down to changes to cattle controls and surveillance measures, which has improved the way we detect and eliminate the disease in our herds,” she added.
“Our TB eradication programme is making use of the armoury against the disease. This includes the testing of cattle, strict biosecurity, movement control and enhanced management of TB breakdowns.
“This approach is aimed at tackling all sources of infection and is clearly having an effect. The latest statistics show the number of new herds with TB in the 12 months to March 2016 reduced by 14 per cent.
“I will continue to monitor and review the picture across Wales and am committed to taking a science-led approach when considering all the options on the way forward for bovine TB.”