FUW calls for debate on Bovine TB

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has called for a cross party debate at the Welsh Assembly for elected members to discuss the urgent need for a change to the current Bovine TB eradication programme.

The Union recognises that unless urgent, proactive action is taken to manage the source of infection in both cattle and wildlife, post Brexit trade negotiations could be put at significant risk. This debate is therefore an opportunity for cross-party co-operation on an issue which has significant emotional and financial implications for many farmers in Wales.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The eradication of Bovine TB is uppermost in our concerns for a successful EU exit and subsequent trade deals. Our belief is that current levels of Bovine TB in Wales are in excess of what will be acceptable to other EU countries when we are outside the single market and our current status has the potential to be a challenging negotiation tool, especially given the the vacuum created by post vaccination failure.

“We can’t help but notice the difference in approach and understanding when we compare our own policies to those implemented in England and while we note that the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, plans to make a statement in the autumn, the Union stresses the point that she needs to recognise that the game has changed due to the trade negotiations issue and that previous plans to eradicate the disease are not fit for the future.

“Stringent cattle controls and additional biosecurity cannot, in isolation, fully eradicate Bovine TB and there must be a change of policy to more thoroughly address the wildlife source of infection.”

Alongside stressing the importance of maintaining good post Brexit trade relations, the FUW’s call for cross party action, possibly through an Individual Members debate, also asks Assembly Members to recognise that a Bovine TB breakdown can cause many indirect losses to farm businesses, such as the loss of breeding lines, and the Union therefore also calls for current cattle compensation levels to be protected.

Given the current and future importance of Bovine TB to Welsh agriculture, the FUW would like to encourage Assembly Members to support this call for an Individual Members debate at the Welsh Assembly in order to deliver a change of TB management policy, which will ensure that Welsh agricultural trade is protected post Brexit.

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