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Concerns raised over cost of bTB vaccines
NFU Cymru criticises cost of alternative bovine TB eradication

A year after the Welsh Government decided not to proceed with its planned badger culling programme, the National Farmers Union Cymru has attacked the alternative eradication scheme.

Deputy president of the union Stephen James said that according to the "Year I Report", the total cost of vaccinations so far amounts to £943,000. This figure, he continued, has covered the cost of vaccinating 1,424 badgers at £662 per jab.

"Here we are with a policy that in our opinion was not supported by the evidence put forward within the scientific review commissioned by the Welsh Government that is costing nearly £1 million annually to deliver a vaccine costing £26,000."

It was announced this week that additional measures will be introduced in Wales to provide a higher level of protection against bovine TB. Speaking in a Senedd Plenary session Environment Minister John Griffiths confirmed that some existing pre-movement testing exemptions will be amended, and a dedicated TB epidemiologist will be appointed by April.

However, Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Antoinette Sandbach, has also expressed concerns over the spiralling costs of the badger vaccination pilot.

"The disease continues to spread, while the Welsh Government pursues a costly gamble with trial vaccination," she said. "Movement restrictions are being tightened, increasing costs and paperwork on farmers, while the most cost effective methods of eradicating TB are ignored and TB reserve in wildlife is not being tackled.

"It is alarming that £662 has been spent for each badger vaccinated yet the number of cattle being killed has increased since the vaccine was introduced."

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.