More education needed on disease prevention, Badger Trust Cymru claims

Badger Trust Cymru is demanding improved education and awareness of biosecurity and disease prevention in both the farming industry and the veterinary profession following a report published by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Spokesman Steve Clark claimed the report detailing the results of Wales’ 2006/7 Intensive Treatment Area (pdf) trials revealed that biosecurity on some farms was regarded as appalling. He called for minimum standards of biosecurity to be a legal requirement.

“There is still a fair bit of ignorance”, he said. “One disturbing issue is that some of the vets said they found themselves firefighting as opposed to being trained in disease prevention in terms of biosecurity with regard to large animals.

“There is also more education needed among farmers, with different attitudes to biosecurity evident between fathers and sons.

“It would make a huge difference if more attention was paid to failings within the farming industry and within the veterinary profession”.

Mr Clark was also critical because involvement in the trial was entirely voluntary.

NFU Cymru deputy director Dylan Morgan said the report was another step forward towards the joint aim of both the industry and the Welsh Assembly Government of finding a holistic approach to eradicating TB in the countryside.

“The report highlights the importance of farmers and private vets working together to try to reduce the risk of disease entering the farm”, he added.

“However this can only be part of the solution, we must ensure we have a strategy in place that allows us to eradicateTB from both cattle and wildlife.”

The report was drawn up by Dr Gareth Enticott of Cardiff University and recommends incentivising farmers to improve their biosecurity and promoting biosecurity among other agricultural businesses.

It says the biosecurity gains achieved by the Intensive Treatment Area were small but beneficial although the time period wasn’t long enough to realistically expect large scale changes in cultural attitudes.