Chief Vets Hearts Desire is to Eradicate TB in Wales

UK - Christianne Glossop, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, told NFU Cymru members in Pembrokeshire at their recent County Conference that it is her heart’s desire to eradicate Bovine Tuberculosis in Wales.
calendar icon 22 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Speaking to a packed crowd at the County Show Pavilion, Haverfordwest, the Chief Vet told local farmers, “I am 100% committed to eradicating this disease and we have a Rural Affairs Minister who is also 100% committed. It will not be fixed overnight but the pieces are starting to come together and we have recently been allocated an additional £27million to spend over the next three years to help the cause.”

NFU Cymru members from Pembrokeshire were told that South West Wales has the highest incidents of TB recorded and approximately 6,000 reactors are removed in Wales each year with compensation costs of £15million projected for this year. As Ms Glossop said, “It isn’t just about the cost of compensation and testing though, we must be aware of the human costs associated with this disease such as the farmer losing their animals; the stress associated with the movement restrictions and movement testing.”

Steve James, a local dairy farmer, has been badly affected by TB on his farm for some time and represented NFU Cymru on the Welsh Assembly TB Action Group. He told those present at the conference that movement testing was absolutely vital to beating this disease.

He said, “As much as we don’t like it as farmers, there is no doubt that movement testing was behind the total eradication of this disease from Wales in the 50s so it must be part of the solution this time around.

“It will also be absolutely crucial that the Assembly is prepared to take action on all sources of infection, including the reservoir in diseased badgers. Unless this holistic approach is adopted we will be no nearer eradicating this awful disease of both cattle and badgers.”

Dai Davies, NFU Cymru President, also present at the conference, told the Chief Veterinary Officer, “I am pleased to see that the Rural Affairs Minister is now talking about the eradication of this disease rather than the ‘containment’. I can assure you that you will have the commitment of the Welsh farming industry behind you because we can see that your heart is also in the eradication of this terrible disease.”

The Chief Veterinary Officer also spoke about BlueTongue and explained how Wales is currently outside the Bluetongue Protection and Surveillance Zones, which were set up across the border in England following outbreaks of the disease in the autumn.

She said, “In recent weeks there have been cases where animals imported from the continent have subsequently tested positive for the disease upon arrival in England and Scotland. I would urge Welsh farmers to avoid importing animals into the country from BTv affected areas, so as not to risk bringing Bluetongue to our door. It has the potential to compromise not just the stock of the importer but the livestock industry as a whole.

“Bluetongue is a nasty disease which represents both a very real threat to the welfare of farm animals as well as to the economics of livestock farming. It is of paramount importance that we do our utmost to continue to protect the livestock industry in Wales from becoming infected by the disease, by acting responsibly.”

Newly elected County Chairman for Pembrokeshire, Nigel James, a dairy farmer from Clarbeston, echoed Wales’ Chief Vet’s call to farmers to weigh up the risks of importing animals from areas of Europe affected by the Bluetongue virus (BTv).

Further Reading

  - For more information on TB (Bovine Tuberculosis)click here.

  - Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

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