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Wales changes TB policy to reduce on-farm slaughter of cows
Cabinet secretary Huw Irranca-Davies recently visited Rhadyr Farm, Usk, which has been impacted by bovine TB.
Farmers will be able to delay removal of heavily pregnant cows.

The Welsh government has announced that it is making changes to its bovine TB programme with the aim of reducing the number of cattle slaughtered on-farm.

Until now, despite the negative impact it can have on farmers and farmworkers, some cattle have been slaughtered on-farm because they were not able to travel on welfare grounds.

Subject to biosecurity conditions, farmers will now be able to choose to delay the removal of a cow or heifer that is in the last 60 days of pregnancy or has given birth in the previous seven days.

There will also be limited flexibility, on a case-by-case basis, to isolate cattle and delay their removal if they are within a few days of the end of a medicine-withdrawal period.

The changes come as the Welsh government accepts in full recommendations from the Bovine TB Technical Advisory Group’s (TAG) first meeting, which was held on 17 April.

The Welsh government, alongside farming unions and other representatives from the cattle sector, will also set up a working group to look at how to further minimise the impact of on-farm slaughter.

Huw Irranca-Davies, the cabinet secretary for climate change and rural affairs, said: “The slaughter of cattle on-farm can be particularly distressing to those who witness it and can have a detrimental impact on farmers’ and farmworkers’ wellbeing and mental health. Recognising the impact on farmers, their families and their businesses It is at the forefront of my mind.

“I’d like to thank the TAG for working at pace to deliver these recommendations on such a sensitive subject. We can now start to work on exploring where positive changes can be made to the TB programme.

“We cannot eradicate TB alone. Partnership working with farmers and vets is crucial to reaching the shared goal of a TB-free Wales.”

Responding to the announcement, NFU Cymru TB Focus Group chairman Roger Lewis said: “The policy changes announced by the cabinet secretary today are welcome, but we must recognise the devastating impact that this dreadful disease continues to have.

“On-farm slaughter is only part of the picture. In Wales we continue to see around 10,000 cattle slaughtered annually because of bovine TB and in 2023, we saw more farms operating under TB restrictions and more new breakdowns than in the previous year.

“NFU Cymru is grateful to the cabinet secretary for listening to our concerns about the issue of on-farm slaughter, but continues to call for a comprehensive eradication strategy that deals with the disease wherever it exists.”

Image © Welsh government

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

Click here for more...
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