Welsh tighten livestock disease surveillance network

An improved surveillance system to detect animal disease threats is being introduced in Wales.

Access to post-mortem examination (PME) services has been scaled back in recent years but the Welsh government has confirmed this service will shortly be restored across Wales. 

See also: Farmers have key role in plugging Defra animal disease surveillance gaps

For farmers whose holdings are within an hour’s journey time from Aberystwyth, the service will be provided by Iechyd Da (Gwledig) in collaboration with Aberystwyth University and Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers. 

At Carmarthen, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will continue to deliver the service.

This enlarged service will create three jobs and is described by the deputy farm minister Rebecca Evans as an important first step towards the creation of Veterinary Science Centre at Aberystwyth. 

“A carcass collection service will be introduced in the remaining areas of Wales, following consultation with local vets,” she confirmed.

“The new arrangements are designed to provide higher levels of assurance for the quality of testing and value for money.”
Rebecca Evans, deputy farm minister

From 1 April, all bovine TB testing and other official veterinarian work in Wales have been provided by two regional delivery partners – Menter a Busnes in North Wales and Iechyd Da (Gwledig) in South Wales. 

“The new arrangements are designed to provide higher levels of assurance for the quality of testing and value for money,” said Mrs Evans.

The minister also revealed that, to reflect the high level of extensive livestock production in Wales, a centre of veterinary expertise specifically for this type of system would be established in Carmarthen.

Officials at the Welsh government will also look at delivery options for future animal health and welfare field services. 

“I want to ensure that services continue to evolve, be fit for purpose and remain aligned with our priorities and strategic vision,” said Mrs Evans.

“Our future veterinary services must work effectively and in partnership between government and the private sector. It is also essential that there is the capability to detect and deal with any future exotic animal disease outbreak.”