The cabinet secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has published a strengthened TB Eradication Programme, which commits to taking a more regionalised approach to eliminating the disease in Wales.
From the 1st October this year, Low, Intermediate and High TB Areas will be established in Wales based on bovine TB incidence levels.
Enhanced measures will be applied in each TB Area tailored to protect the Low TB Area and reduce the disease in the Intermediate and High TB Areas. This follows consideration of the responses to a consultation launched at the end of last year.
The enhanced controls include introducing post-movement testing in the Low TB Areas from the 1st October 2017. This will protect the area by identifying infected animals at the earliest opportunity, before they can go on to infect others. This measure will also be introduced in the Intermediate TB Areas next year to stop the risk of the disease spreading from the neighbouring High TB Areas.
The priority for High TB Areas is to continue to reduce the number of TB breakdowns. Under the Programme, chronic breakdown herds will have individual action plans with disease control measures specifically aimed at clearing up infection in cattle.
In these chronic breakdown herds, where there is evidence of infection in the badger population, we will consider a range of options to reduce the risk of disease spread, including cage-trapping, testing and where necessary humanely killing infected badgers.
The cabinet secretary continues to rule out large scale culling of badgers that is being applied in England.
Speaking at the Senedd, the Cabinet Secretary said: “Over the last few years we have made real progress towards eradicating TB in Wales. The number of new incidents has fallen by over 40% since its peak in 2009 and currently 95% of herds in Wales are TB free.
“I have listened to the industries responses to our consultation and have fed what was appropriate and reasonable into the Programme.This should not be seen as exclusively a Government plan; it has been developed through consultation with industry, and will be reviewed over time. I now call on the farming industry and veterinary profession to play a full part. Together we can achieve our goal of a TB free Wales.”
The new TB Eradication Programme and Delivery Plan are available on the Welsh Government website: http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/disease/bovinetuberculosis/bovinetberadication/?lang=en