The Welsh government has been urged to consider the mental health impact of the refreshed bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication programme proposals to the rural community.

According to the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), proposals from the consultation could cause "significant declines in the mental health of the rural community".

FUW animal health and welfare committee chairman Ian Lloyd said:

"Irrespective of farm TB history, the stress and anxiety endured during TB testing, and the fear of facing a potential TB breakdown, continues to hammer the mental health of farmers across Wales  and the veterinarians conducting the test. 

“Fifty agricultural workers take their own lives each year and veterinarians are three, to four times more likely to commit suicide than any other profession.

"The Welsh Government must seriously consider the effects its proposals will have on the mental state of the rural community.”

Not considering the impact on cattle welfare and human health and safety according the FUW, is "unacceptable".

Lloyd added that the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) Big Farming Survey 2020 showed that 31% of the farming community cited financial pressures as a cause of stress.

Ian Lloyd

“The fundamental lack of any impact assessment to ascertain the catastrophic effects that these proposals will incur is wholly disrespectful to the farming community and the enormous challenge that mental health charities supporting the rural community already currently face," he continued.

“Collectively these proposals will create a culture of fear and anxiety and directly contradict the aims of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 where public bodies are required to think about the long-term impact of their decisions on the health, economy and communities of Wales,” he said.