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Lack of Bovine TB impact assessment is a disservice says FUW

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The Farmers’ Union of Wales has expressed extreme concern that the recent Welsh Government Refreshed TB Eradication Programme consultation has been produced without any assessment of the ground-level impacts of the proposals.

The consultation, which closes on 8 February 2022, contains significant and costly proposals which, if brought in, could see a significant rise in the number of cattle TB tests conducted, an increase in the number of cattle slaughtered and a reduction in compensation payments of around one third.

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Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer said: “Given the significance of this consultation, it is fair and reasonable for the FUW to expect an assessment of the ground-level impacts of the proposals to have been conducted and provided within the document.

“However, the consultation contains no assessment of the impact of these proposals on farm finances, cattle welfare, farmer mental health and veterinary capacity. Given the interconnectivity between many of these proposals, it is extremely frustrating that no attempt has been made to identify the detrimental consequences of these proposals on the viability of farm businesses.”

One area of particular concern to FUW members is the proposal to significantly reduce the compensation paid for cattle compulsorily slaughtered as part of the Welsh Government’s TB Programme.

“The proposal to move to average table values for TB compensation would have reduced the compensation received by the industry in 2020 -2021 by around 5 million pounds. However, the administrative and financial costs of gathering cattle more often, paying for additional tests and losing more stock have not been considered within the proposals.

“Without a proper impact assessment it is difficult to determine the true cost of these proposals to the industry and it leads to an unbalanced consultation which does a tremendous disservice to the Welsh cattle sector,” added Dr Wright.

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(Lead image: FUW)

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