Mansel Raymond calls for review of badger cull stance

NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond has called on the Welsh government to have the “political courage” to review its stance on badger culling.

Mr Raymond told Farmers Weekly that he had lost 40 cows to bovine TB in recent weeks after the disease was detected in a routine test. He questioned the continued policy of the Welsh government to focus on badger vaccination to control the disease rather than a limited cull of badgers.

Together with his farm vet Mr Raymond had challenged the policy.

In a letter to the Welsh farm minister Alun Davies they said the only way bovine TB could be controlled was through culling badgers; vaccination has never been proven as an effective method for disease treatment.

Mr Raymond said his vet had seen no decreases in the disease despite strict controls designed to control bovine TB in cattle. “The worst part of all is that herds are going clear on two short intervals and within six months they have been reinfected.

“Farmers have got strict movement testing and recording but my vet has told me that we are not getting on top of the disease at all,” said Mr Raymond.

The challenge came in a week when NFU Cymru raised concern over a further tightening of cattle movements in Wales.

The union said that the move would further restrict livestock movements and create challenges for the day-to-day running of farming businesses.

From 1 November no farmer will be granted a new Sole Occupancy Authority where disparate parcels of land are brought together under licence as a single unit.

NFU Cymru fears the change will cause problems for farmers taking on new temporary grazing.

NFU Cymru deputy president Stephen James expressed the union’s deep reservations about the changes.

“NFU Cymru is concerned that the Welsh government has not fully understood the practical impacts and costs that this will have on day-to-day farming operations,” he said.

More on this topic

Read further about bovine TB and badger culling