Third of Welsh cows culled due to TB hail from Pembrokeshire

Closer analysis of Government statistics reveal the staggering toll of bovine TB on Pembrokeshire farmers.

As local farmers gather for the annual Pembrokeshire County Show, the continued anger and frustration of the industry with the impacts of bovine TB on the farming industry within the county is a major talking point.

The most recent official government statistics, released last month showed 3,731 cattle were slaughtered in the county in the 12 months up to the end of April 2019.

This equates to nearly a third of all the cattle slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB in the last 12 months having come from the county of Pembrokeshire.

The figures also reveal that the number of new herd incidents in Wales has decreased by 7%; however, there was a 1% increase in the number of herds not officially TB free at the end of the 12 months up to April 2019, compared to the year before.

The figures also reveal a 19% year-on-year increase in the total number of animals slaughtered in Wales due to bovine TB.

The situation is worsening in the High Incidence Area in West Wales – which includes all of Pembrokeshire and large parts of neighbouring counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire – where there was a staggering 27% increase year-on-year.

Speaking at the show, Pembrokeshire NFU Cymru county chairman Clare Morgan said: “This scale of loss is hugely damaging and totally unsustainable for the industry in Pembrokeshire, and comes at a time when farm incomes and cash flow are already under massive pressure.

“I’ve spoken to many farming families in this county who are struggling under the enormous emotional and financial strain caused by bovine TB.

“Cattle farmers here in Pembrokeshire, and in other parts of Wales, are adhering to additional cattle movement and testing controls, which came into force as part of the refreshed TB Eradication Programme that was introduced by the Welsh Government in October 2017.

We are now nearly two years into the refreshed TB programme and these latest figures reveal a grim reality that the policies currently in place simply aren’t eradicating the disease in Wales.

Mrs. Morgan added: “There is a stark contrast when you compare what’s happening in the High Risk areas in England, where the disease is being addressed in both the cattle and wildlife populations, and where the most recent statistics show that the vast majority of these counties have seen falling numbers of cattle slaughtered and fewer herds under restriction.

“NFU Cymru wrote to the Minister earlier this year to highlight our willingness to work with the Welsh Government on a similar approach in Wales, and that offer remains on the table, although it’s most disappointing that only last month in Plenary the Minister once again ruled out a Badger Cull as part of a TB strategy for Wales.

“It was interesting to note in the recent TB update that Welsh Government sent out to farmers in Wales, that just one in three confirmed TB breakdowns in High TB areas are primarily attributable to cattle movements.

“This makes me, and many other farmers in the High Risk area, question what is actually being done about the causes of the other two-thirds of confirmed breakdowns in the High Risk areas?”