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Tackling Bovine TB In Wales Moves On

10 March 2011

WALES, UK - NFU Cymru has welcomed the Rural Affairs Minister’s announcement to proceed with two further elements to the Welsh Assembly Government’s bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication programme proving its on-going commitment to free Wales of this disease.

Stephen James, NFU Cymru Deputy President, said, “We believe that in proposing to tackle the disease in wildlife as well as cattle the government has embarked on the correct course of action. We recognise that the decision to cull wildlife in disease hotspots is not an easy one for the One Wales government; however the farming industry does agree with the Assembly Government that this is the only viable option to deliver a successful eradication programme in the Intensive Action Area.

“It must be remembered that this is only part of a much wider package that the industry and Government are committed to. We have already implemented the cattle control and Biosecurity measures deemed necessary and today the Assembly Government is putting the final pieces in the jigsaw by including new controls to deal with TB in camelids, goats, deer and wildlife.

Mr James continued, “Other organisations may criticise today’s announcement using statistics which show a recent fall in the number of TB reactors as justification, but we have witnessed reductions in the past only for it to subsequently accelerate. The CVO has previously pointed out it is premature to suggest that a turning point has been reached and historically the trend has been upwards.”

“Given the major hoops and hurdles our cattle farmers are going through to get on top of this disease in terms of increased cattle testing, movement controls and measures to reduce contact between cattle and wildlife, measures that affect every decision a farmers makes, I sincerely hope that they are having a positive impact. Without a concurrent strategy to deal with the reservoir of disease in badgers, however, this will be to little avail.”

In its response to the draft Order consultation, NFU Cymru stressed that farmers, more than anyone, dearly wish for a vaccine that could be used as part of a range of measures to help rid the disease from the countryside but vaccination is not a viable option in the Intensive Action Area in west Wales.

Mr James said, “Vaccination prevents disease, it does not cure it, we know that there is a significant reservoir of disease within the badger population of the IAA until this is dealt with even if a proven vaccine was available its impact would be extremely limited.”

In conclusion Mr James said, “Today’s announcement gives the Assembly Government the complete package of tools to move forward with practical measures to rid cattle, non bovines and wildlife from this hideous disease which presently runs riot within our cattle and wildlife.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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