Chief vet's call for unity in fight to overcome animal diseases
WORKING together helps both farmers and vets tackle animal disease, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop told farmers at a recent meeting in Carmarthen.
Farmers from across the county gathered at Trinity St David University in Carmarthen recently to hear Dr Glossop explain that animal health and welfare are vitally important as fundamental requirements of civilised society, and we share responsibility for animal welfare, as animal keepers and vets.
Dr Glossop said: "Who is responsible for dealing with animal disease? Alone we don't have all the answers to eradicating disease, but working together we have more information to tackle it head on." She added: "In the context that there are diminishing resources, higher demands and higher concerns for food safety we must look at ways of working together to ensure animal health.
"The English government is currently looking at proposals to share the cost and responsibility of animal health between the government and the farming industry.
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"In England there is a proposed partnership group which would be the sole source of advice on matters to do with animal health.
"I am constantly asked if I am considering doing the same here in Wales," said the Chief Vet.
She continued: "My response is that we are already sharing the cost of TB, and working closely together here in Wales on its eradication. The way we are working together on this particular disease can be translated, if it needs to be, in the future, for other diseases.
"Regional TB Eradication Delivery Boards have been established whose aim is to help eradicate Wales of TB and there are government and farming industry representatives working closely together on these Boards."
The chief vet brought up the issue of vaccination, which has been mooted as an alternative to a cull in the pilot area, which covers north Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
"The role of vaccination as part of a TB eradication programme is under consideration, but at present we have no indication that vaccine can cure infected badgers and vaccine alone cannot provide 100 per cent protection against infection to healthy badgers," she said.
Thousands of consultation responses have been received by the Welsh Assembly Government on the proposed draft Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2010, explained the Chief Vet.
The Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, is currently working through all of the responses and a decision on the next steps is likely to be announced this month.
Gareth Richards, NFU Cymru Vice County Chairman for Carmarthenshire, told those present: "The problem of TB was around before I was born and I share your enthusiasm for getting rid of it Dr Glossop. I hope to see it eradicated in my lifetime."
Rosemary Jones, NFU Cymru county chairman said: "As dairy farmers we have had to deal with TB on the farm for many years and we also look forward to the day that Wales is declared TB free.
"My thanks go to Christianne Glossop for her very informative presentation."