Don’t pin too much hope on EU help over TB, farmers warned

Livestock farmers have been warned not to see the European Union as a ‘silver bullet’ in the battle against bovine TB.

Following a meeting between NFU president Peter Kendall and EU health commissioner Androula Vassiliou last week, NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said it would be difficult for the EU to step in over the government’s decision not to implement a badger cull.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at the Royal Welsh Show today (Monday 21 July), Mr Raymond said there was concern in Europe over the UK’s TB situation, particularly following the revelation that TB-infected cattle were exported to Holland.

“Europe is unhappy with farmers restocking cattle and cattle movement when the incidence of TB is so high in England,” he said.

“It also wants to see greater use of the gamma interferon test [to detect TB].

“But farmers have to be careful not to see the EU as a silver bullet in helping solve our TB problem.”

Mr Raymond said Ms Vassiliou had expressed concern that TB infected cattle had been allowed to enter Holland, but she had told Mr Kendall the EU would not push for trade restrictions.

However he said there were concerns Dutch farmers and importers would continue to hold their own commercial ban.