At a recent meeting with First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Minister for Environmental, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, the Farmers’ Union of Wales called for an independent review of the current Bovine TB evidence base.
Alongside the call for an independent review, the FUW presented the First Minister with the latest TB statistics for Wales, including the significant rise in the number of cattle slaughtered. The First Minister also heard how the TB testing regime used in an Enhanced Management Herd can mean 5 weeks of work just to test cattle on a family farm over an 18 month period.
During the meeting, the FUW called for an independent review of the current bovine TB evidence base with a view to assessing the suitability of current wildlife control measures and to make recommendations on future badger culling policies in Wales. The union called for funding to be made available through the EU transition fund.
If accepted, the review would benefit from evidence of bovine TB in wildlife, as reported by Badger Found Dead, spoligotyping to identify the TB strain and the potential of whole genome sequencing in cattle and badgers.
The FUW’s call for an independent review by analysts with no connection to the issue is an approach which has been utilised successfully in other sectors.
The First Minister was also reminded of the substantial physical, mental and financial pressures conferred upon farmers due to bovine TB and the potential risks that it may bring to future trade relations.