27 October 1995

NFUquotes human tragedies

THE human tragedies behind TB breakdowns were highlighted by the NFU when it published its report on Tuesday.

Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, chairman of the NFU badger working group, said the effect on farm businesses of TB breakdowns in dairy herds was absolutely critical with the fear of closure and the risk to family, children, employees and stock.

At one meeting alone they had had three farmers in tears.

Gloucestershire farmer Robert Warren described the problems he has experienced since animal movements from his farm had been stopped since July 25. By Christmas, he estimated the consequential losses would cost him £16,000. He had had to find extra housing, feed and bedding for 120 calves born in the last six weeks, only 30 of which he would normally keep as herd replacements.

Earlier an NFU team, led by president Sir David Naish, presented the reports findings to junior farm minister Angela Browning. Sir David said Mrs Browning recognised it was an immensely emotive problem of great importance to farming.

&#8226 After Mrs Browning hosted a seminar on TB and badgers for MPs last week Liberal Democrat farm spokesman Paul Tyler said it had raised more questions than it answered.

MAFF could not go on acting as judge of its own scheme. An independent investigation was long overdue he said.

In a statement Mrs Browning conceded it had been 10 years since the last independent scientific inquiry. She said the seminar was part of an informal consultation process to explain MAFFs range of action and "to assist us in considering whether there is anything more which we can do".