The NFU is threatening to leave the TB Eradication Group, just days after the formation of the group was announced.

DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn has been accused of altering the terms of the group during a meeting with the EFRA committee on Wednesday (5 November)

The NFU said it was “very disappointed and concerned” by Mr Benn’s comments, which suggested the formation of the group did not mean the government’s TB policy would be changed.

Giving evidence to the committee for its inquiry into bovine TB, Mr Benn said he had not changed his mind about a badger cull.

While eradication was a long-term goal, controlling the disease was an immediate priority, he added.

His comments were met with dismay by farming leaders, who had hailed the formation of the group for including the word ‘eradication in its title.

NFU president Peter Kendall vowed to hold DEFRA to the agreed terms of the group, or warned the union would not get involved.

“The terms of reference announced on Monday have been very carefully negotiated with DEFRA and set out for the group to look at all the issues to work towards the eventual eradication of bovine TB,” he said.

“It is the NFU’s intention to hold DEFRA and the Secretary of State to those terms of reference.

“If that does not happen, then the NFU may need to reconsider its position with regard to the TB Eradication group.”

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