BVA president Nicky Paull has welcomed the recognition that vets will play a key role in the Welsh TB eradication programme, which will include a controlled cull of badgers.
The comments were made during her speech at the BVA Annual Welsh Dinner at Cardiff City Hall last night (April 28), attended by an audience that included Welsh chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop and Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones.
During her speech, Mrs Paull focused specifically on the subjects of bovine TB, bluetongue, responsibility and cost sharing – all subjects she claimed “remain high” on the BVA agenda.
She said: “Bovine TB remains one of the UK’s most difficult animal health issues, with control measures costing the livestock industry and Government millions of pounds a year.”
Mrs Paull claimed that the eradication of bovine TB from both the cattle and wildlife populations “must be the ultimate aim”.
She said: “As veterinary scientists and practitioners, we remain convinced that steps need to be taken immediately, and humanely, to control the spread of infection in all susceptible species. Only then can we move on to eradication.
“We welcome the recognition in Wales that vets will have to play a key role in your eradication programme and are particularly pleased that the British Cattle Veterinary Association (a division of the BVA) is represented on the Wales TB Eradication Programme Board, and that BVA members also input into the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Steering Group, and TB Technical Advisory Group.
“We fully support your commitment to TB Health Check Wales which provides an additional, one-off test of all cattle herds across Wales in order to identify the extent of the infection and to remove infected animals.”
To Elin Jones, she said: “And we particularly welcome your recent announcement, Minister, that a cull of badgers in specific areas is going to be undertaken as part of the comprehensive programme being introduced to tackle bovine TB from Wales.
“I am sure that all British farmers will be watching the Welsh programme and hope that it will show that this dreadful disease can be successfully controlled – and eventually eradicated.”