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Plaid Cymru reaffirm support for Welsh farmers ahead of bovine TB debate

28 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru at farming protest.

Emily Price

Plaid Cymru have reaffirmed their support for Welsh farmers and rural communities as thousands of frustrated farmers gather outside the Senedd.

In Cardiff Bay today (February 28) farmers will protest against the Welsh Government’s agriculture reforms which have been branded ‘unworkable’.

The new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) will require farmers to farm sustainably by bringing their existing tree and woodland cover up to 10% – and earmarking another 10% for habitat.

Farmers say this would never be practical whilst running a farm business and unions say the tree cover requirement represents a “major barrier” to scheme entry.

It comes against a backdrop of continuous bovine tuberculosis (bTB) breakdowns and the slaughtering of thousands of Welsh cattle every year.

Plaid Cymru has tabled a debate in the Senedd today on the eradication of bTB which threatens the future of many farms in Wales.

The  debate calls on the Welsh Government to:

  • Urgently undertake a long-term evaluation and appraisal of current cattle controls to determine their relative effectiveness in preventing and controlling disease transmission.
  • Make immediate changes to farm slaughter policy.
  • Establish policies which reflect wildlife as a source of infection and which allow for proper and scientifically validated culling and control methods;
  • Consult with NFU Cymru, FUW and other representatives of the agriculture sector in Wales to establish a new way forward in determining a bovine TB policy for Wales.

Review

Plaid Cymru will also support another debate in principle today from the Welsh Conservatives on the SFS.

On Tuesday (February 27), 24 hours before the debate calling for changes to the government’s bTB policy, the Welsh Government appointed a group to review the current procedures.

Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs spokesperson Llyr Gruffydd MS said the party is “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder” with rural communities.

He warned Tory-made trade deals and a failure to match post-Brexit funding along with “Labour’s weakness” in dealing with the impact on bTB, the failed delivery of an interim scheme, and “unworkable” SFS proposals had created the perfect storm leaving the sector feeling “under siege”.

Mr Gruffydd said: “Farmers across Wales have had enough. They feel let down by governments either end of the M4.

“Coming just 24 hours before Plaid Cymru’s debate in the Senedd calling for immediate changes to on-farm TB slaughter policy, we welcome the appointment of a group of experts to review the rules.

“Change cannot come quickly enough, and we will continue to urge the Government to act on this and the other demands in our motion.

“However, on the Sustainable Farming Scheme, only an unequivocal statement of a pause and review of the proposals will reassure the sector that the government is genuinely listening and responding meaningfully to the concerns expressed.

“In the meantime, we urge everyone to respond to the ongoing consultation to leave the government in no doubt that the current proposals do not achieve Wales’s climate change ambitions in a way that also delivers a sustainable future for our family farms.”

‘Distressing’

In a joint statement, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford and Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “We recognise the devastation a TB breakdown brings to a farming family and business. The slaughter of cattle on farm can be particularly distressing to those who witness it and can have a detrimental impact on farmers’ and farmworkers’ wellbeing and mental health.

“We are committed to exploring other approaches to on-farm slaughter. We are today appointing a Bovine TB Technical Advisory Group, as previously announced in November.

“Its first priority will be to look at the current on-farm slaughter policy and provide advice to Ministers, as a matter of urgency. The group will examine all the evidence and documentation in relation to this, including the summary views of the NFU Cymru TB focus group, which met last month to discuss on-farm slaughter.”


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Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

Not a case of “ jumping on the tractor 🚜 “ for Plaid but more a return to their traditional roots under a leader who understands the needs of rural communities.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard E

Plaid Cymru stands up for the local community.

We all need Plaid Cymru government elected to the Senedd.

The time is NOW !

David
David
1 month ago

Am I correct in remembering that in the Labour coalition with Plaid Cymru years ago there was talk about reducing the number of badgers to reduce TB. But, as soon as Plaid Cymru was not required to keep Labour in power. Labour scrapped that position.

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