Lesley Griffiths has reminded farmers and vets that new rules to strengthen efforts to eradicate bovine TB are coming into force on Sunday (1st Oct).
In June, the Cabinet Secretary published an enhanced TB Eradication Programme, which committed to taking a regionalised approach to eliminating the disease in Wales.
From Sunday, Low, Intermediate and High TB Areas will be established in Wales, and are based on bovine TB incidence levels.
Enhanced measures will be applied in each TB Area, depending on local disease risks and drivers. This approach is designed protect cattle in the Low TB Area and drive down the disease in the Intermediate and High TB Areas.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“We have worked closely with the industry to develop these new enhanced measures and together we can achieve our goal of a TB free Wales.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of the work to clear up long-standing TB breakdowns, some of which have been under restrictions for 10 years or more. On average, the cost of testing in these herds and compensation of cattle slaughtered, is almost £200,000 per herd. Clearing up infection in these herds will offer significant savings to the taxpayer and farm businesses.
“We will be closely monitoring the impacts of all these measures and aim to be in a position to review the boundaries of the TB Areas once we have the full calendar year dataset for 2018.
“We have already made significant progress towards eradicating TB in Wales. The number of new incidents has fallen by over 40% since its peak in 2009; the lowest level in twelve years. Currently 95% of herds in Wales are TB free and I would like to thank the farming industry and veterinary profession and other stakeholders for their continued cooperation and engagement as our Programme develops and progresses.”
Alongside these enhancements the annual TB herd testing regime continues across Wales. We have almost eight years of annual testing data in Wales and this sustained high level of active surveillance provides indisputable assurance of the true TB status of cattle herds in Wales.
The TB Eradication Programme and Delivery Plan are available on the Welsh Government website.