Incidents of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) are continuing to decline in Wales, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths revealed in an update to the Senedd.
Making her annual statement on the TB eradication programme on Tuesday, 14 November, the minister said that new incidents had decreased by more than 18 per cent in the 12 months to June 2023 compared to the same period five years ago. The number of animals slaughtered for TB control also dropped by almost five per cent.
The latest figures show that there were 609 new herd incidents in Wales in the year to June 2023.
The Welsh government is aiming to eradicate bTB in the country by 2041. In March, it published a new five-year TB Delivery Plan to increase collaboration between farmers and veterinary surgeons.
The Pembrokeshire TB Project, part of the TB Delivery Plan, received praise from the minister as “an excellent example of a collaborate, industry-led initiative.” Six local veterinary practices are working with 15 farms to develop tailored measures for herds, including improved biosecurity and ways to manage high-risk animals.
The minister also revealed that she has asked officials to look at the on-farm slaughter policy, after listening to concerns that the slaughter of heavily pregnant cows and heifers can be distressing to witness.
Ms Griffiths said: “Whilst the picture of bovine TB is ever changing, I would like to emphasise the important, long-term trends show fewer affected herds and new herd incidents across Wales as a whole.
“As I emphasised in March, the Delivery Plan is centred on partnership working. TB will not, and cannot be eradicated by Government acting alone.
“Just as no two farms are the same, no two TB breakdowns are identical, and we do see variations in TB levels in different parts of Wales. Therefore, farmers working closely with their vet is crucial to both protect herds and keep TB out, as well as tackling the disease if it does occur.”
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