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Written Statement - Supporting and Informing farmers in the fight against TB

Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food

TB continues to have a significant impact on individual farms and the industry as a whole. The fight against bovine TB is entering a new and crucial phase. The success of our annual testing policy has now produced a full five years worth of data around the disease picture in Wales and this has been reinforced by the valuable work undertaken under the TB epidemiology project. The work that the Welsh Government has undertaken, including the Cymorth TB pilot, has shown that the disease can best be addressed in partnership with an appropriately informed farming industry supported by a fully trained and engaged veterinary profession, in both the private and Government sectors. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that the Welsh Government is today introducing a new initiative that reflects these developments - the Cymorth TB Veterinary Programme.

I cannot stress enough the value and importance I place on the vet’s role and in particular the skills, knowledge and client relationships of the local vet.  There is probably no better example of this than Cymorth TB which I am formally launching today. The role of the private vet is central to the delivery of an effective TB eradication programme. With this we are seeking to enable private practices and vets to increase their involvement in the eradication programme through Cymorth TB.

Cymorth TB was developed to implement a more comprehensive approach to disease prevention and the management of new and existing TB breakdowns, and the support provided to farmers and herd keepers during the period they are under restrictions.

The veterinary programme offers farmers experiencing new TB breakdowns a three hour visit from their own private vet paid for by the Welsh Government. All vets who undertake these visits will have passed a training module which will enable them to explain the TB management process, to look at what choices and measures the farmer can take to combat the disease now and in the future, including choices around trading policy and biosecurity. From today the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will begin to issue vouchers to farmers in Wales who meet the criteria for a Cymorth TB visit.

By working together providing information at all levels and involving private veterinarians we can make a real difference to the disease situation in Wales. TB is one of the most serious animal health issues we face, but we continue to build and develop a programme which is robust and flexible enough to make a difference and one which involves working in
partnership towards our goal of a TB Free Wales.