Monday, 30 September 2019

A community against bovine TB

Peter Black, in and out of the Assembly, has been campaigning long and hard against the official badger biocide in England. The Welsh Government's more enlightened policy on bovine TB has survived the departure of most of the Liberal Democrats and the arrival of the more huntin' and shootin' inclined members of UKIP and the BREXIT organisation, though there has been pressure on funds in recent years.  Now there is news of a local initiative in Gower which aims to take the battle against TB in both badgers and cattle a stage further.

Gower has been a hot spot for bovine TB. Farmers, local vets and other members of the community have taken up the badger vaccination programme in a big way. Measures to control cattle movement are being considered. It seems to me that Gower, with natural boundaries on most sides, is an ideal area to prove what many of us feel is the way forward in tackling the disease.

Work towards controlling the disease has been given a boost by an inaugural conference at Aberystwyth University, as reported in last week's Country Focus. Leading figures from farming, veterinary science, government and academia came together to look at the latest developments in diagnosing bovine TB - the limitations in the current test, how it might better be used and what innovations are coming down the line. The university's bovine TB Centre of Excellence is generating evidence to help inform TB control.

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