NFU Cymru criticises government on badger cull

Wales’ bovine TB eradication policy has lost momentum as the wait goes on for a decision on the sanctioning of a badger cull, claims the deputy president of NFU Cymru.

Speaking at the Welsh Dairy Event in Carmarthen, Stephen James said it was a “sad indictment’’ on the Welsh Government that a verdict is still awaited.

It is understood that the committee established to review the science behind a badger cull will meet for the final time on October 28th before presenting its report.

Mr James urged the Environment Minister, John Griffiths, to deliver his decision quickly. “We have lost momentum on this, a cull should have started in May 2010 and yet we are still awaiting a decision,’’ he told farmers.

For 18 months farmers in Wales have been subject to stringent testing and movement restrictions introduced to coincide with a planned cull.

Mr James referred to a new rule introduce earlier this year which affects farms that neighbour herds with TB breakdowns. The rule, which he said was introduced without consultation, means neighbouring farms are subject to restrictions until they also have two clear tests.

Mr James said farmers needed the support of the Welsh Government in their fight against TB. “We need John Griffiths to give us a positive message that the Welsh Government is going to sort out TB once and for all.’’

Milk contracts were also a major topic for discussion around the show ring at the Welsh Dairy Event.

NFU Cymru said it would not shy away from calling for government intervention on contracts.

President, Ed Bailey, wants processors to “grasp the nettle’’ on a voluntary code of best contractual practice.
Buyers were also urged to act on milk prices. According to the NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman, Maurice Jones, around 1.6 billion litres of milk produced in Wales is being sold at an average 4ppl below the cost of production.

“That’s £65 million per year that’s lost to the rural economy or roughly £34,000 per farm,’’ said Mr Jones.

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