It followed Defra’s update on the strategy on Tuesday (December 18) which underlined the benefits of badger culling in reducing the level of bTB in areas of England where the disease is endemic.
Welsh government has been tasked with reconsidering its stance on following England’s bovine TB eradication strategy in light of emerging evidence the culling of badgers was beneficial.
It followed Defra’s update on the strategy on Tuesday (December 18) which found the number of new confirmed cattle breakdowns in England were down by about 50 per cent over the four-year cull period.
The figures also suggested incidence rates in the Gloucester area had dropped from 24 to 12 per cent in the 12-months following their fourth year of badger culling, something NFU Cymru milk board chairman Gareth Richards said was of ‘stark contrast’ to the strategy employed in the High TB Area in South West Wales.
Mr Richards said the reality in Wales was ‘static at best’.
He said: “New herd incidences here remain unchanged over the last 12 months at 12.5 new breakdowns per 100 Officially TB Free (OTF) herds, but this is an increase compared to 24 months ago when the figure was 10.5 new breakdowns per 100.
“This is despite stringent cattle control and strict biosecurity measures employed by those farming families suffering the misery of a TB breakdown.
“The reality is that the disease situation is, at best, static in this area of Wales, which is in direct contrast to areas of England where culling has taken place over a period of time.
“Latest statistics show that nearly 10,000 cattle were slaughtered in the year to September 2018. This cannot be allowed to continue if we are to have any hope of getting on top of bovine TB and meet Welsh Government’s own target of total eradication between 2036 and 2041.
“Cattle testing, movement controls, biosecurity and vaccination of badgers are a vital part of any eradication strategy.
“However, the effective control of badgers in areas where we know that they are suffering from disease must also be part of the strategy if we are to have a truly comprehensive TB eradication strategy in Wales.”