Welsh Assembly launches a TB action help line

Farming organisations have welcomed the Welsh assembly’s decision to establish a telephone hotline (0800 528 3300) for farmers caught up in Wales’s deepening bovine TB crisis.

But at Carmarthen Show, staged in the heart of the country’s worst hotspot, leaders demanded the urgent setting up of intensive treatment and research areas to tackle the disease in both cattle and wildlife.

Dai Davies, NFU Cymru deputy president, said that an average of 841 farms were under restriction in Wales between January and May, or 5.5% of the total.

In west Wales an average of 8.5% of farms were dealing with control measures to tackle what he described as a horrific disease.

“We must find solutions to contain and eradicate it, and stop the emergence of new hot spots,” Mr Davies insisted.

Jonathan Andrews, the CLA’s South Wales regional director, called for Christine Glossop, the new chief veterinary officer for Wales, to be allowed to follow the science and not be forced to bow to political expediency.

Dr Ruth Watkins, an adviser to the Welsh TB Action Group, insisted it was important that control of the disease was not “baulked by economics and politics.

She said: “You have to follow the scientific evidence. It is quite clear that there has to be control of badgers. You have hot spots where the disease is just going round in circles.”

Money was being spent on killing cattle instead of trying to implement proper disease control programme.