Farm leader Peter Kendall has slammed Labour’s attitude towards bovine TB – saying it must come up with a more meaningful strategy to combat the disease.
The NFU president made the comments at an NFU fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, East Sussex, on Monday (23 September).
During the meeting, shadow farm minister Huw Irranca-Davies acknowledged that the disease needed to be dealt with in badgers as well as cattle in TB hotspot areas.
But dealing with infection was best done by developing an oral badger vaccine, he said.
“We would actually push forward with [developing] oral vaccinations which are the way forward – as well as injectable vaccinations – to deal with those hotspots areas in a holistic manner.”
Mr Irranca-Davies said he believed tackling bovine TB this way would be within the coalition government’s timescale of dealing with the disease within 20 years.
But farm leader Peter Kendall said British dairy farmers continued to be frustrated by Labour’s attitude to bovine TB – and its opposition to badger culling.
Bovine TB had declined by 50% when badgers were culled in southern Ireland, said Mr Kendall.
“Yes, it was a reactive cull – but that is what farmers see,” he told Mr Irranca-Davies.
“And then we see shadow DEFRA secretary Mary Creagh saying in her [conference] speech that Labour won’t be rolling out the ‘disastrous’ badger cull.”
“Our NFU farming members are left wondering what you are going to do other than argue about the amount of money you are going to put into a badger vaccine.”
“Please, please come up with something more meaningful.”