Bovine TB has cast a dark cloud over Wales’ cattle industry, but it is hoped with a new TB eradication programme starting tomorrow (1st October) the cloud will be lifted and bring down the number of bovine TB cases.

The new zonal TB regime means two Intermediate, two High and one Low TB areas will be established across Wales, with tailored measures applied to each zone.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said:

“Plaid Cymru welcomes measures to control and eradicate bTB and ensuring that testing and movement restrictions are proportionate to the disease status of an area.

“Bovine TB has cast a dark cloud over the farming industry in Wales, with the Welsh Government spending almost £150m on TB compensation over the last 10 years.

“An approach to eradication of this disease that takes fully into account real animal welfare issues, and that is the herds as well as the badgers is welcome. This disease exists in those animals that we are involved in their husbandry, and is also in the wildlife reservoir, and we need to eradicate it from both of those sectors.

“The preventative approach it is hoped will bring down the number of TB cases lifting the cloud over the cattle industry.

“We’ve being demanding action from the Labour Government since 2015 when the badger vaccination programme was suspended due to a global shortage of the vaccine and the need to prioritise its use for human health.

“The need of action is particularly needed because of the shadow of Brexit and what trade deals are negotiated.

“Some concern was raised with me over the summer during the many agricultural shows I attended like the Royal Welsh and Pembrokeshire Show about the impact on trade between zones. The Labour Government has to address this issue along with the issue of additional testing in High and Intermediate areas.

“It is established the disease is passed between wildlife and cattle and controlling the disease within the wildlife population has to go hand in hand with animal testing and movement restrictions.

“Assurances from the Labour Government have to be given that the measures are targeted, effective and humane. I do not believe there is evidence to date to support a large scale English style cull.”

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