No farmer representatives on new Welsh bovine TB advisory group

NFU Cymru has said it is disappointed there is no farmer representation on the panel of a new bovine TB advisory group for Wales.

The Welsh government has confirmed the appointees to the new Bovine TB Technical Advisory Group (TAG) ahead of its first quarterly meeting on Wednesday (17 April).

Prof Glyn Hewinson, who is also Sêr Cymru chairman of the TB Centre of Excellence in Aberystwyth, will chair the 10-member group which includes scientists, people with a background in social science, and vets.

See also: New Welsh bovine TB advisory group ‘a positive step forward’

Derbyshire vet Sarah Tomlinson, who is also technical director of the TB Advisory Service (TBAS) for England, has been appointed alongside other experienced vets, including Keith Cutler, Gareth Edwards, Ifan Lloyd and Sarah Woollatt.

The group also consists of bovine TB scientists and lecturers, including Gareth Enticott, Robert Smith, David Grove-White and Gwenllian Rees.

Commenting on the TAG, NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader said: “I feel they should have appointed a farmer to the group. But a lot of people who have been recruited, their reputation goes before them.”

On-farm slaughter policy

The group’s first priority will be to review the current on-farm slaughter policy.

In addition, following the recommendations of the Task and Finish Group, the TAG will also be inviting external organisations to give evidence to inform the group findings.

The TAG will report to a TB eradication programme board, consisting of cross-industry stakeholders, but ministers will ultimately be tasked with making policy decisions.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “This group brings together a wide range of highly experienced technical experts who work closely with farmers day-to-day.

“Members will bring a huge amount of expertise and experience to advise on the challenges of eradicating TB in Wales.”