Farms in and around the bovine TB Intensive Action Area (IAA) in west Wales are being offered free veterinary consultations to advise cattle keepers how they can improve biosecurity. The visits will be carried out by the farmers’ own vets.

Follow up visits to advise cattle keepers how they can improve biosecurity on their farms are being offered in the bovine TB Intensive Action Area (IAA) in west Wales.
This is the second year that these visits, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, have been offered as part of efforts to tackle bovine TB in the  Intensive Action Area. This year the offer of the visits has been extended to farmers whose properties are just outside the boundaries of the Intensive Action Area where a comprehensive approach to TB eradication is planned.
Farms in and around the Welsh TB Intensive Action Area are being   offered free biosecurity consultsQualifying cattle keepers have received a letter advising them that they will be contacted over the autumn and winter to arrange an appointment to review/assess their biosecurity practices. The visits will be carried out by the farmers’ own vets.

Welsh chief vet Christianne Glossop said: “Biosecurity is an important aspect of our comprehensive approach to tackling bovine TB. Last year, we had a 100% take-up on the offer of visits and, with the offer being extended to farmers just outside the boundary of the Intensive Action Area, I would urge all cattle-keepers to take up the offer of a visit. It costs you nothing but your time, and it will help reduce the risk of infection being introduced into your herd.”
Robert Price-Jones, one of the local vets who will be carrying out the visits, said: “These visits are a good opportunity for me as a vet to sit down with my client to specifically spend time to re-evaluate current practices. It’s very important that cattle keepers consider the practical steps they can take to protect their herd and business. Good biosecurity is not a guarantee of keeping TB out from the herd, but enhancing measures to keep the disease out does improve the farmers chances of becoming or remaining disease free.”
Welsh CVO Christianne GlossopFollowing each visit, a tailored action plan is drawn up for each cattle-keeper, providing guidance on measures to reduce the risk of bovine TB on individual farms, through protecting their herd from infection by other cattle and by wildlife. For farmers who received a visit last year, this year’s visit will offer an opportunity to review and build upon that plan.
Recommendations following last year’s visits included limiting contact between animals by:

  • Making cattle accommodation and feedstores badger proof;
  • Using slope sided raised troughs at least 3 foot high;
  • Grazing non-susceptible livestock on areas of badger activity.

Enhanced cattle disease control, including TB testing cattle every six months and limiting movements in and out of the Intensive Action Area have been in place since May 1.
The Welsh Assembly Government is also currently running two public consultations on TB. One concerns TB in goats, camelids and deer across Wales. The other involves an order allowing the Welsh Assembly Government to cull badgers in the Intensive Action Area.
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