THE WELSH GOVERNMENT’S flagship bovine TB data document – TB Dashboard – has revealed disappointing progress towards the eradication of bovine TB in Wales.
According to the data presented, the levels of bovine TB in Wales have remained fairly static overall, with variable results across the counties.
Indeed, whilst the TB Dashboard document reports a general fall in TB herd incidence since 2012, the number of cattle slaughtered in the 12 months leading to January 2017 was 22% higher than in the previous 12 months.
Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer, said: “Although the data from TB Dashboard shows improvement in some areas, the number of cattle slaughtered remains on the rise. According to Welsh bovine TB statistics, with the exception of 2008 and 2009, the number of cattle slaughtered in the 12 months to January 2017 was higher than in any other year since 1996.
“Recurrence rates have remained relatively flat in recent years, however almost 30 percent of the TB incidents closed in 2014 entailed a recurrence in the subsequent two years.
“Losing TB-free status is devastating to farming families and their businesses. The restrictions on a farm business can be incredibly destructive and it is extremely distressing for our members to have worked hard to gain TB-free status, only to lose it again in the subsequent years.
“A TB breakdown is not only financially crippling for the farm, but also impacts more widely as struggling farm businesses are less able to contribute to the both the local economy and further afield.”
According to Dashboard, over 80% of new TB incidents are in the areas classified as ‘High TB areas’, including Pembrokeshire in the West. In the last quarter of 2016, there were 71 new incidents in this region. Whilst this is a minor improvement from the year before, the longer term results are variable and suggest that cattle measures alone cannot work to eradicate TB.
The latest official report on the IAA, published after the cessation of the £3.7 million badger vaccination programme in North Pembrokeshire, concluded that ‘consistent trends in indicators of bovine TB incidence have not yet been seen’ over the 5 year period examined.
“The industry is well aware that the results after four years of badger vaccination in the IAA showed levels of bovine TB which are no different to other comparable areas where badger vaccination did not take place.
“The number of cattle herds registered in Wales has declined by 43 percent since 1996 and the industry has lost dairy producers at an alarming rate. Bovine TB is one of the most serious issues facing Welsh cattle farmers and a more holistic approach, which seriously tackles the wildlife reservoir, is required urgently,” added Dr Wright.
Quarantine Units major concern for local shows
THE THREAT posed to small agricultural shows through the introduction of Quarantine Units was hotly debated at Bedwellty and Llangynidr show, with farmers voicing their concern about the new regulations which will come into force on September 11.
“I would first of all like to thank the Glamorgan and Brecon and Radnor branches of the FUW for their assistance at our local shows and also congratulate the organisers for putting on such fantastic events. It really reminded me of how important our local shows are and the key role they play in bringing communities together,” said FUW Gwent County Executive Officer Glyn Davies.
“The main topic of discussions in our marquee however was not Brexit as many might expect, but the imminent introduction of Quarantine Units. The delay in their introduction has done nothing to ease the burden, and the threat that will be posed to small shows like Bedwellty and Llangynidr. Our members really are concerned about the effect this will have.”
“Quarantine Units pose a very real threat to the livestock classes at the smaller agricultural shows. The Welsh Government have constantly stressed the vital role that agriculture plays in the rural economy and community, yet are hell bent on introducing QU’s which will make it uneconomical for some farmers to participate at shows, particularly during the busy autumn sales period. The cost of obtaining approval and maintaining, quarantine units will prove prohibitive to many exhibitors,” added Mr Davies.
Welsh Lamb stars in BBC food finale
BBC TWO viewers saw PGI Welsh Lamb take to primetime television on September 4, during Love Lamb Week.
Former Great British Bake Off champion Nadiya Hussain has been discovering local delicacies from around the UK in her new series ‘Nadiya’s Great British Food Adventure’ and Monday’s episode saw PGI Welsh Lamb take centre stage in the final episode of the series.
The episode aired during Love Lamb Week, a national campaign which encourages consumers to pick and fall in love with lamb during its peak season. Originating as a grass roots campaign, Love Lamb Week sees farmers, agricultural bodies, chefs and consumers join together to celebrate and champion lamb.
During the episode, Nadiya travelled to the Brecon Beacons to meet local sheep farmer Richard Roderick. Part of Nadiya’s journey is to understand the story and the provenance behind different food and produce up and down the country, learning what makes these special foods not only delicious, but a part of Great British culture.
Nadiya also tried her hand at sheep dog training with Richard and took in the outstanding natural surroundings in which Welsh Lamb is reared, before moving on to the kitchen where Nadiya cooked up a delicious and different lamb recipe. Nadiya’s ‘Fast Lamb Bhuna’ served with garlic naan is a simple and contemporary dish, proving Welsh Lamb to be worthy of more than just a Sunday roast.
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) scholar and former Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year Richard Roderick commented said: “It was a delight to have Nadiya come to the farm and show her what goes into putting Welsh Lamb on supermarket and butcher shop shelves. Nadiya was really eager to learn more about the whole process and even had a go at rounding up the flock.
“It was great for Nadiya and the viewers to see the story and provenance of Welsh Lamb and how our traditional farming methods and Wales’ naturally exceptional landscapes provide an excellent product for exceedingly good dishes.”
HCC Marketing Manager Rhys Llywelyn said: “Love Lamb Week is always a great opportunity for us to promote lamb being in peak season and PGI Welsh Lamb as an iconic national product. Nadiya’s Great British Food Adventure succeeds in showing the public the story behind Welsh Lamb; the people and the hard work behind the produce.’ Rhys continued ‘Nadiya also broke the misconception that Welsh Lamb is more suited to slow-cook stews and Sunday roasts. Nadiya’s quick and innovative dish proves the ease and versatility of cooking with Welsh Lamb.”
Farmer awarded for his long service to agriculture
CHRIS LEWIS from Letterston was praised at the Pembrokeshire County Show last week for his long service to the agricultural industry.
Chris, who started work at Llangwarren Farm in Letterston, and then Chapel Farm in Wolfscastle for 33 years, was one of three people who was awarded for their long service to the industry.
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