The advance by the Welsh Government in bringing an appropriate integrated plan to tackle bovine TB has been welcomed by Plaid Cymru.
The strategy proposes to split Wales into low TB areas, intermediate TB areas and high TB areas with different approaches to tackling the problem.
In high TB areas it will “explore and develop ways to break the transmission cycle between cattle and badgers where it can be demonstrated badgers are contributing to the problem in chronic herd breakdowns.”
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas, Mid and West AM said:
“This announcement is a step forward towards a proper integrated strategy to tackle bTB. It is welcome that the link between the disease in wildlife and in cattle is being recognised and that measures are being taken to address the policy vacuum that has been in place. It needs to be ensured that the measures taken are targeted, effective and humane.
“Recognition that a regional approach is needed to tackle the problem is welcome. Instances of TB infection in cattle has stayed persistently high in west Wales and is increasing in new areas in Carmarthenshire.
“Plaid Cymru has long advocated a toolkit of measures to deal with the disease based on local need and disease status. The statement mentions extending enhanced measures ‘to include problem areas and herds suffering recurring TB breakdowns.’
“I am calling for assurances that testing and movement restrictions will remain proportionate to the disease status of an area.”
The Welsh Government is also consulting on lowering the cap on compensation payments to £5,000 per animal, from the current £15,000 per animal.
Mid and West AM Simon Thomas added:
“The proposal to cap compensation at £5,000 per animal killed, a cut of £10,000 from the current cap of £15,000 will be a cause of concern to many farmers. It is hoped that a preventative approach to bovine TB can, in the long run, bring down the number of bovine TB cases and lead to less being spent on compensation.”