The Tuberculosis and Brucellosis (Wales) Order 2010 would allow Welsh Ministers to amend existing legislation around pre-movement testing of cattle and link compensation to farmers whose cattle have been affected by TB to good farming practice.
The measures proposed would help to strengthen Wales’ comprehensive TB Eradication programme which aims to tackle all sources of the disease.
The Minister explained that she had updated policies and tightened up on their delivery in an effort to eradicate Bovine TB. Measures so far had included reducing the number of overdue TB tests by 99%, removing infected cattle quickly and introducing the TB Health Check Wales which aimed to test all cattle in Wales by 31 December 2009 in order to get a better understanding of the scale and location of the disease in Wales.
The Minister said:
“TB Health Check Wales comes to an end on 31 December 2009. The programme has been crucial in identifying and removing infection early and in stopping the disease gaining a foothold in more areas across Wales.
“All herds in Wales will also be subject to an annual test and compulsory pre-movement test in 2010. However there is still more to be done to bear down on this disease.”
Speaking about the eight week consultation the Tuberculosis and Brucellosis order, the Minister said;
“The Order will allow Welsh Minister to amend legislation in Wales in a number of ways.
“Firstly there remain a number of exemptions to pre movement testing that are not compatible with our goal of eradication and I intend to amend these.
“Secondly I want to link the compensation to good practice. Most farmers act responsibly but cattle owners who do not comply with regulations and put their neighbours at greater risk from TB would see their compensation cut.
“However badgers as well as cattle are responsible for spreading TB which is why we are intending to set up an Intensive Action Pilot Area. In this area we would trial a new approach to eradicate the disease through tighter cattle surveillance and controls, continuing to slaughter reactor animals and addressing the disease in badgers.
“Detailed work on these proposals is still progressing and I hope to be in a position to consider these matters fully and make further announcements shortly."
7 December 2009