Pre-movement testing for Bovine Tuberculosis, proposed by Defra,
can only happen if it does not add any further cost burden to the
industry and if Defra commits to a systematic effort to remove
the reservoir of disease from wildlife. That was the strong message
from farm leaders at the meeting of NFU council in Warwickshire.
The Government announced the introduction of pre-movement testing
of livestock from infected areas in December, along with a consultation
on a proposed package of measures to tackle TB in wildlife. The
NFU believes both must go hand in hand if efforts to remove the
disease are to be successful.
Meurig Raymond, vice president of the NFU, said: “We cannot
let this situation carry on. Farmers are willing to play their
part in controlling TB but we need to be working in partnership
with government. The onus and the burden cannot be placed purely
on the farming industry and only through a partnership approach
can this disease be contained and eradicated.
“Neither is there any point in tackling the problem of cattle
to cattle infection if the disease remains virulent in the surrounding
wildlife. Failing to tackle tuberculosis in wildlife is not compassionate.
It increases the risk of healthy animals contracting this debilitating
and dreadful disease.”
The NFU will also continue to oppose the implementation of compensation
tables, which it considers to be far too rigid to accurately valuate
the massive range of animals in the market place.
Council also warned that tackling TB was the first test of the
Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and failure to take positive
action on the disease could result in the strategy's collapse.
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