Plans which could potentially penalise cattle keepers who “fail to take notice” of TB information when purchasing stock have been strongly opposed by the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) in its response to the latest Welsh government Refreshed TB Eradication Programme consultation.

Risk Based Trading proposals contained within the consultation could mean that there are “implications” for cattle keepers that make cattle purchases regardless of “highlighted risks” in the TB information provided at point of sale.

Dr. Hazel Wright, FUW senior policy officer said:

“Although the consultation contains proposals for mandatory TB information at point of sale, it remains unclear what criteria would be used to determine the relative risk of stock.

“We would urge caution on this issue as poorly developed Risk Based Trading proposals can make it extremely difficult for purchasers to make informed judgements when buying stock.”

In its consultation response, the FUW has called on the Welsh government to establish a Risk Based Trading group in order to ensure that the information provided at point of sale is not too crude to be useful or too complex to be usable.

“Whilst the FUW does not oppose Risk Based Trading per se, any moves to effectively penalise certain types of purchases will inevitably make some Welsh cattle unsaleable and the FUW would query whether the Welsh government would be willing to compensate those cattle keepers that have received a government endorsed ‘black mark’ against their stock.

“It is essential that the industry is able to fully participate in Risk Based Trading discussions prior to the implementation of proposals which could have significant consequences for both sellers and buyers of cattle” added Dr. Wright.