Twenty goats have been culled in Carmarthenshire, after six were discovered to have what is suspected to be TB.

The outbreak was confirmed by the Welsh Assembly Government on Tuesday (22 July). The outbreak is believed to be linked to a similar case in England.

The disease in goats is “unusual”, and animal health officials are checking to see if it has spread to other herds.

Brian Walters, vice-president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) told the BBC it was a worrying development. “It’s another reservoir of TB that could affect the whole industry. The question is why and how did the goats pick it up?”

Developments

DEFRA’s executive agency Animal Health is managing the outbreak, as well as possible tracings to other herds. “Animal Health is keeping officials in the TB team at the Welsh Assembly Government fully informed of developments with this outbreak,” said a spokeswoman.

“A letter will shortly be published in the Veterinary Record summarising the current situation and advising veterinary practitioners of the need to consider bovine TB when investigating goats with clinical signs suggestive of the disease.

“The Goat Veterinary Society (GVS) has also circulated information to its members.”

It is not known where in Carmarthenshire the outbreak has occurred.

First findings

The GVS on its website said the disease was first found following a post mortem examination of a goat in Wales a few weeks ago.

“The herd in question was in the process of being sold up due to retirement at the time the discovery was made,” writes the society’s secretary Nick Clayton to members.

“And many of the goats from that herd went to two other herds, from both of which stock had been sold on quite widely.”

Loraine Makowski-Heaton, a goat farmer from near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, told the BBC that people in the industry were concerned. Most goat milk producers, including her, pasteurised their milk, she added.

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