NFU - Time to get off the Fence

UK - “For an individual farmer, TB infection is ten times worse than Foot and Mouth disease.” This was the alarming comment from one NFU Cymru member at a recent Anglesey county meeting, addressed by DEFRA vet Sally Williams.
calendar icon 13 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

Mrs Williams said, “Our work shows that although Anglesey is currently clear of the disease, TB is creeping ever closer. The challenge for us as vets is to
prevent a repeat of the catastrophe that has hit cattle farmers in many areas of south and mid Wales. No doubt pre-movement testing of cattle and the gamma interferon test will be important tools in achieving this.”

Dairy farmer and NFU Cymru County Chairman, Trevor Lloyd, made a series of forthright points for Mrs Williams to take back to the Welsh Assembly Government.

“How much more evidence do Ministers need that badgers are involved in spreading TB? As vets you are, together with farmers, responsible for animal welfare and the longer the decision is delayed, the worse the problem will become. This will lead to increased suffering for both cattle and wildlife populations.

“We urgently need the Government to come off the fence and control infected wildlife, if we are to have any hope of reducing, let alone eliminating this costly disease with its potential human health implications.”

Trevor Lloyd added, “The Government now talks about disease cost sharing with the industry, but how can the industry possibly contemplate such a move, when the evidence based views of farmers are totally ignored and the government talks about standard tabular valuations?

“We do value a state veterinary service, but I find it difficult to fully support a service that, as far as TB is concerned, is not serving our best interests. The TB policy is a catch-up policy, costing the taxpayer and individual businesses millions of pounds annually. TB is devastating what is otherwise one of the best cattle herds, with one of the highest health statuses in the world.”

Trevor Lloyd concluded, “There is no time to wait until the next Assembly election in May 2007. Any further delay will mean that clean areas like Anglesey will be at increased risk of suffering a TB breakdown which already causes heartbreak and hardship to many farmers in areas of south and mid Wales.”

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