FUW welcomes outcome of Bovine TB policy discussions
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government to change a policy proposal which would have prohibited the feeding of unpasteurised milk to livestock on Officially TB Withdrawn (OFTW) premises.
The proposal, which was put forward in the government’s 2021 Refreshed TB Programme consultation, was opposed by FUW members due to factors such as cost, the impracticalities of attempting to pasteurise individual mothers milk for each calf and the welfare benefits of colostrum in the first few days of life.
Following the consultation, the FUW repeatedly met with Welsh Government staff and officials to highlight members’ concerns and to discuss the relative cost-benefit of introducing this measure.
Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Acting Head of Policy said: “We have spent a great deal of time and effort presenting our concerns to the Welsh Government over successive meetings on this issue. We are therefore extremely pleased that our concerns have been heard and that this has resulted in a positive policy change”.
“It is important for calf welfare that calves are provided with their mothers colostrum and milk for the first few days of life. Given the immense impracticalities of attempting to pasteurise individual mothers milk for each calf, this proposal could have detrimentally affected calf welfare”
As part of its consultation response the FUW highlighted that while there may be significant risk in individual cases, the overall importance of milk borne transmission in the epidemic is probably low or negligible.
Given the relative risk, the union did not believe that this was a priority issue and believed resources would be better spent elsewhere.
Dr Wright added: “Whilst this proposal will not now be taken forward, we are encouraging cattle keepers to speak to their vet to understand the risk posed by milk borne transmission on their own individual premises.”
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