The Tenant Farmers Association has accused the Government of catastrophic cowardice in the light of its unwillingness to tackle head-on the growing menace of bovine TB in Great Britain.
Speaking just before the South West Dairy Show, Shepton Mallet the TFA's National Vice-Chairman, Jerry Rider said: "I joined the TB Forum nine years ago having had a major TB breakdown in my dairy herd. Nine years on, I am sad to report that once again the dairy herd, now owned by my son, has experienced another major breakdown. Ninety-five cows have tested positive for TB following an original test sixty days previously where only three were infected. I really feel that those nine years of banging my head against a brick wall have all been for nothing".
The TFA believes that research carried out recently in Ireland and also the interim results of the Krebs trials in Britain demonstrate clearly that the major source of TB infection in the countryside is emanating from infected badgers. However, the Government seems completely incapable of reaching the rational decision that infected badgers need to be culled in order to stop this devastating disease from spreading even further and destroying the livelihoods of many hard working family farms.
"The Government has taken little notice of farmers' concerns; it cannot continue to fiddle while Rome burns. It plays around the edges of the problem by suggesting policies such as pre-movement testing, tighter bio-security and changes to compensation provisions, but fails to grasp the real nettle which is infected badgers. I know it is a tough decision, but it is for tough decisions that we elect Governments. We want to see healthy badgers and healthy cattle and we are achieving neither by allowing infected badgers to cause mayhem in our countryside." said Mr Rider.
The TFA is supporting the proposals for culling infected badgers submitted to the Government by the NFU. A formal response from Government is still awaited.
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