TFA remains defiant over disease cost-sharing with government

The Tenant Farmers Association has decided to continue with its stance of non co-operation with DEFRA over cost and responsibility sharing on animal health and welfare.

The organisation said it would not negotiate until the government addressed the industry’s main concerns over inadequate bovine TB controls.

Greg Bliss, TFA national chairman, said his executive council had debated the issue at length and was concerned that trust and goodwill between government and farmers was still lacking.

But he remained resolute that there would be no change in approach.

The TFA was keen to continue with a united front with other organisations in not co-operating with government.

“Collectively and individually we need to continue to challenge government on its TB policy,” Mr Bliss said.

“Unless and until it moves to create a viable eradication plan, which tackles the reservoir of disease in wildlife alongside controls on cattle, it must be right to absent ourselves on talks.”

Talk of creating an independent body to deal with animal health issues was still of interest to the TFA, but it was worried that the remit of the body might be restricted.

DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn recently suggested that badger culling was not a topic which an independent body would be allowed to consider.

Mr Bliss said it would be unacceptable for wildlife controls to be considered outside the scope of a future independent animal health body.

“The Secretary of State is naïve to believe that in excluding wildlife controls the industry will be interested in developing the idea of an independent body with government,” he said.

“The ball is very much in the Mr Benn’s court and he needs to be extremely careful as to how he plays it.”

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