Welsh Government urged to work more closely with farmers to tackle Bovine TB
A Senedd committee is calling on the Welsh Government to work more collaboratively with the agriculture sector to tackle Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).
The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee concluded that farmers (including farmers’ private vets) should be treated as equal partners by Welsh Government in its TB eradication policy.
The Committee report says that the Welsh Government need to put the farming community at the heart of its TB eradication programme.
They must ensure farmers feel ownership of the programme as opposed to it being something the Government does to them.
This will give farmers impetus and the buy-in into the policy which will make the eradication of Bovine TB more successful.
In June 2017, the Welsh Government announced its TB Eradication Programme with a number of policies aimed at reducing rates of Bovine TB on Welsh farms.
By having a joint government and industry decision making process the Committee concluded that there will be a greater success in controlling the spread of Bovine TB (as was the case in New Zealand, Australia and Ireland where they adopted this system).
Paul Davies MS, Chair of the Economy; Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “Farmers are the bedrock of Wales and the agriculture industry is an important and proud part of our economy. The least the Welsh Government should be doing is including them in the decisions and the policies that affect their livelihood.”
“Evidence from Wales, and from abroad, shows that the more farmers have ownership over this issue, the more successful the TB eradication strategy will be. We need the Welsh Government to not only bring farmers to the table, but to treat them – and the wider industry – as equal partners.”
Professor Glyn Hewinson, Sêr Cymru research chair in the Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis for Wales, said during his evidence to the committee: “It is really important to get buy-in. In New Zealand and Ireland there is a joint government and industry decision making that really brings people on board.”
“This approach helps build more trust between government and the industry.”
The Committee also called for the Welsh Government to engage with the UK Government’s DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) so it can learn lessons from and replicate the success of the TB Advisory Service in England.
The report, which scrutinises the Welsh Government’s consultation and the renewal of its TB eradication programme, outlines five key areas the Government should act on: engagement with farmers and the wider industry; informed purchasing; testing; compensation; and gathering more information on wildlife.
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