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DEFRA TB Decision Will Lead to Farm Bankruptcies

The Tenant Farmers Association has written to DEFRA Minister George Eustice MP calling for DEFRA to overturn its decision to ban partial derestriction of TB breakdown holdings.

Currently and up to the end of September, beef and dairy producers, in consultation with local Animal Health officials, are able to obtain a partial derestriction of their holdings for animals which test negatively for TB.

Dairy Cows

© farm-images.co.uk

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said “This flexibility has meant the difference between survival and bankruptcy for many livestock farmers and DEFRA’s plans to remove this flexibility in the autumn is causing great anxiety, stress and concern amongst TFA members”.

In responding to DEFRA’s consultation on the matter earlier in the year the TFA had the following to say about DEFRA’s proposal to abolish partial derestriction:

“The TFA rejects this proposal. The flexibility to allow parts of TB restricted premises to be free of restriction must be maintained. The removal of this flexibility will consign many businesses to collapse. There is no evidence presented which indicates that the use of this flexibility adds to enhanced disease outbreaks and is a step too far.”

“Despite our clear rejection of the proposal it is unacceptable, that without further discussion, the Government has decided to press ahead with such a draconian measure. The TFA and its members fully support measures to ensure that we progress the eradication of bovine TB both through appropriate measures for controlling disease spread between livestock and through control of TB infected wildlife. However, such measures must respect the need for trade to continue within an appropriate risk based system,” said Mr Wyrill.

“There is no justification for a complete ban on partial derestriction. Such a move flies in the face of the Government’s wider agenda of better regulation based on a proper analysis of risk. In applying an outright ban on partial derestriction many farm businesses will be condemned to become unviable which is also contrary to the Government’s determination to assist the industry in becoming more resilient,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The Government’s decision is not based on sound science. Currently, animal health staff work with producers locally to determine whether or not partial derestriction is appropriate, reasonable and without significant risk. It is at the local level where decisions can be made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration all relevant factors,” said Mr Wyrill.

“I am asking that DEFRA reverses its decision on a complete ban on partial derestriction and instead works with the industry to ensure that the framework within which local animal health officials assess applications for derestriction are as robust as necessary to minimise the risk of disease spread,” said Mr Wyrill.


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