Welsh Conservatives say that these damning figures show that the Labour Government’s bovine TB policy isn’t working.
A record 12,799 cattle – a 28-percent jump – were slaughtered in Wales because of bovine TB in the year to August, figures from DEFRA released today state, with one region here showing a disturbing 190-percent leap for animals slaughtered in the same period.
Comparable figures for livestock slaughtered in England show a one-percent drop.
In the same period there was a seven-percent increase in the number of herds in Wales not officially classified as bovine TB free due to a bovine TB incident. Comparably, England saw a six-percent decrease in herds classified as not officially bovine TB free.
Commenting on the figures, Shadow Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Andrew RT Davies AM said: “These figures will make for worrying reading for farmers across Wales, many of whom have been - and continue to be - severely affected by Bovine TB. The Welsh Government has been painfully slow to act and this has left many rural businesses across the country in limbo.
“Labour’s current approach is expensive, erratic and fails to give farmers confidence that this disease will be eradicated in Wales. Quite rightly, there is a great deal of anger and frustration within the rural community with farmers now are at their wits end. They are doing all that they can by following stringent cattle movement and testing controls, but it’s time the Cabinet Minister and her government stepped up to the plate.
“Sadly, the action and measures the government have implemented to date are failing the farming community and a lasting solution is now long overdue.”
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM, who represents Preseli Pembrokeshire, added: “This terrible disease has an enormous impact on our rural communities, especially our farmers who are suffering with their mental health due to the emotional strain and the potential loss of their livelihood.
“The Farmers’ Union of Wales has also called on your Government to step up its efforts to tackle this crisis and argue that cattle controls alone are not sufficient enough. NFU Cymru has urged your Government to look towards our neighbours and to learn the lessons of the eradication strategy there, where the strategy focuses on a partnership approach to tackle the disease in cattle and wildlife.
“Yet while farmers are guardians of the land, they are also businesspeople. Their farms are their livelihoods, and bovine TB affects them, their livestock, their lives and health immeasurably. I – and my Welsh Conservative colleagues in the Assembly – will continue to press this Government to step up its efforts to deal with bovine TB, and get behind our farmers.”