A pedigree beef breeder has released a powerful video which calls on politicians and scientists to listen to farmers about the best way to tackle the bovine TB problem.
Pat Quinn, who runs a herd of Longhorn cattle in Gloucestershire, said a lack of co-operation and suspicion of farmers was impeding progress in beating the disease and leading to the deaths of thousands of animals.
The film, called Bovine TB – A Political Disease, charts the impact that the disease has had on her own farm and on other farmers.
It highlights the efforts that Mrs Quinn has made to get answers about how bovine TB is spread between cattle and badgers and the obstacles she has faced in doing so.
“We have to fight for our industry because if we don’t it is just going to disappear, losing generations of wonderful breeding of cattle,” she said.
Mrs Quinn told Farmers Weekly she had made the video out of desperation.
“I hope it will get to people who just don’t understand the problem. All these badger groups seem to think they are saving badgers, but they have done so much harm as they have allowed the disease to spread and we now have a monumental problem.”
It was particularly exasperating that scientists seemed to ignore farmers, even though they were living with cattle and badgers morning, noon and night, Mrs Quinn said.
Scientists needed to listen more to farmers who had practical experience, she said. They should also “get their boots on” and start surveying farms on an individual basis to help develop a sensible solution to the problem.
The current badger culls were not the ideal approach, in her opinion, but the industry had been given little option but to proceed.
“We have no choice as we have been tied in knots by the legal situation. As far as I am concerned it is not ideal – but we cannot allow a dangerous zoonotic bacterium to spread.”
A copy of the video has been sent to Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom.