Cattle under Bovine TB restriction on rise

Cattle herds under bovine tuberculosis restrictions in Wales are increasing while farmers are being paid less in compensation for culled stock, according to Welsh Government figures.

The figures show that in the first eight months of 2011 there were on average 140 herds a month under restriction compared to a monthly figure of 114 in 2010 and 103 in 2009.

In the meantime compensation payments for pedigree cattle have halved from a high of £5,000 in 2006 to £2,500 in June 2011. The compensation paid for non-pedigree stock has fallen from a high of £2,000 to £1,500.

Antoinette Sandbach, Welsh Assembly shadow rural affairs minister, who obtained the statistics, is “deeply concerned” that the TB eradication policy appears to have lost momentum.

“Welsh farmers need action, yet the minister responsible has so far shown no appetite for taking the tough decisions that are urgently needed to eradicate this disease,’’ she said.

Ms Sandbach said falling compensation levels added “insult to injury.’’ “All in all, farmers are continuing to pay a heavy price for the Welsh Government’s inaction,’’ she insisted.

Wales’ environment and sustainability minister, John Griffiths, received the report of a panel established to review the science surrounding bovine TB eradication in December. At the time he confirmed he would be making a statement on the issue early in the New Year.

Read our FAQ on the Welsh badger cull plans