"Many farmers will spend their lives fighting what feels like a losing battle against bovine TB, a devastating disease that can cripple a farming business and push many farmers to despair."

This is according to the National Farmers' Union (NFU) deputy president Stuart Roberts.

"Rarely a week, or even a day, will go by where I don’t speak to a farmer about bovine TB.

They tell me about the utter devastation it causes. They share with me the emotional strain it puts not just on them but their family. They tell me, often in tears and in anger, how generations of breeding cattle from their farms have been lost overnight, culled after receiving a positive TB test.

"This effectively closes the farm business and it will remain closed until a clear TB test, which can take months, if not years to achieve.

'The only light at the end of a very dark tunnel'

Roberts continued: "For these farmers, the government’s 25-year strategy to eradicate bTB really is the only light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

It means tackling the disease using a broad range of science-based interventions and it remains the only solution we have.

"It’s no surprise there are critics of the policy. The broad range of interventions includes cattle culled when testing TB positive; comprehensive cattle movement controls; a myriad of TB testing requirements; higher biosecurity on-farm; and a cull of badgers in areas where the disease is persistent and high.

"In order to deliver the government’s 25-year strategy, to eliminate this terrible disease from our cattle and our wildlife, we learned long ago that we must break the cycle of infection that exists between badgers and cattle.

"The end goal is a countryside populated with healthy badgers and healthy cattle," he concluded.