A refreshed five-year delivery plan to build on the steady progress achieved to date to eradicate bovine TB in Wales has been published by Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths.
The picture of bovine TB in Wales is ever changing, but the important, long-term trends show good progress. Between 2009 and December 2022, new TB incidents fell by 49% in Welsh herds while prevalence decreased by 32%.
94.7% of herds were TB free at end of December 2022.
Partnership working is at the heart of the new plan. It emphasises the eradication of bovine TB in Wales cannot be achieved by the Government alone, without the support, engagement and ownership of the farming industry and veterinary profession.
The plan builds on what is already in place to set a course to make further progress towards a TB-Free Wales by 2041.
Points from the plan include:
- Integrating further into our Programme a greater level of partnership working, co-design and co-delivery to build trust, dispel inaccurate information, empower keepers to take control of their TB situation and protect their business.
- Benefits of the partnership approach to be explored through a project in Pembrokeshire which will involve collaborative working at a local level, empowering vets and farmers to make informed decisions and show leadership in disease control.
- New governance arrangements including publicly appointed Programme Board and Technical Advisory Group to be established which will provide technical expertise on key policy areas including a review of the management of in-calf TB affected cattle.
- Bring forward legislation to reintroduce Pre-Movement Testing for cattle movements within and from the Low TB Area.
- Extend the requirement for Post-Movement Testing in the Intermediate TB Areas and enabling the display of TB Free herd information on ibTB to support farmers to understand the TB status of cattle they wish to purchase.
- Engagement on TB Payments and Informed Purchasing will begin over the coming months to explore policy options with stakeholders and agree a way forward, making the necessary links with the Sustainable Farming Scheme. Further legislative changes will be required to bring in new policies in these areas.
Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said:
I am very aware of the impact of bovine TB on our farming community and the emotional and financial consequences of this disease. It is extremely distressing for farmers who have an outbreak in their herd. That’s why I am clear we must maintain momentum and build on our already extensive programme of measures, to make further progress towards the eradication of bovine TB in Wales.
Good progress has already been made, with the long-term trends showing a decrease in cases. We must build on this. However, Government cannot do this alone. Partnership working is needed with our farmers and vets to reach our goal of a TB-free Wales.
The plan I have published today, outlines what we can all do together over the next five years, to build on what has already been achieved. We must all unite to succeed in eradicating this disease.
The Minister will provide an annual update on the progress of the delivery plan.