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Bovine TB continues to decline in Wales
Wales aims to eradicate bTB by 2041.
Minister gives annual statement on eradication programme.

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.”

Image © Shutterstock

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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News Shorts
Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.