Farming unions warn of the increase in the number of cattle killed as a result of bTB and urge Welsh Government to take notice of farmer ’heartache’.
Welsh farmers have told of the heartache, stress and emotional and financial strain which bovine tuberculosis (TB) has continued to pile on their lives and businesses.
It came as the Welsh Government published new statistics which highlighted 9,962 cattle had been slaughtered due to bTB in the 12 months up to September 2016, a 35 per cent increase on the previous year.
Farm unions labelled the situation ‘severe’ and said they hoped the increase in figures would make the Welsh Government ‘sit up and take notice’ of the impact that bovine TB continued to have.
Following recent news the government was seeking regionalisation of TB policy interventions, Welsh chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop said the ‘bespoke action plans’ based on the Northern Irish model should ensure vets were placed at ‘the heart of the approach’.
Speaking before the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee in the Senedd on Wednesday, she said: “The new regionalised approach will be less damaging and less contentious.
“We are hoping to learn lessons from Northern Ireland and base the refreshed strategy on co-operation rather than confrontation.
“We are talking about vet epidemiological evidence to look at individual farms to see if wildlife is all – or part – of the problem and to deal with it wholly."
NFU Cymru said it wanted the Welsh Government to put in place a TB eradication strategy which removed disease from both cattle and wildlife sources.
NFU president Stephen James said: “Bovine TB is the biggest threat to beef and dairy farmers across large parts of Wales.
“Looking at TB endemic areas of the country, the situation is severe, with Clwyd suffering a 118 per cent increase in slaughtered cattle, Carmarthenshire 74 per cent and Pembrokeshire an increase of 34 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year.
“Clearly the proposals put forward by Welsh Government will ratchet up the control measures and restrictions on cattle keepers in many parts of Wales, but what is missing is the lack of specific detail provided by Welsh Government on when the disease problem in wildlife which exists in parts of the country will be adequately addressed.”