A Welsh government minister has been seeing for himself how a new pilot project is helping to support farmers through a TB breakdown. 

The Cymorth TB pilot which began in October, 2013, has been running in six different areas of Wales and looks at how private vets can offer their clients additional support during a TB breakdown and help them to clear infection as quickly as possible.

As part of the pilot, private vets visit participating farmers and advise them on how they can reduce disease risk on their farms via measures such as  improved biosecurity and safer trading policies.

Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources, went to Swansea met Ifan Lloyd, partner at the St James Veterinary Group in Swansea and one of the private vets who has carried out a number of the Cymorth TB visits.

Mr Davies said: ““We know that there is no quick fix to eradicating TB. It requires a sustained and comprehensive approach and I am keen to make best use of every tool and every resource available to us to reach our goal.

“The Cymorth TB pilot has enabled us to explore opportunities and identify what value can be added to the TB eradication process through closer partnership working between private vets and farmers.

“As we now seek to extend the pilot, it is great to meet vets who have been involved so far and hear their views on how we can develop initiatives that will help to  eradicate TB from Wales.”

Mr Lloyd said he was pleased to play an enhanced role in the TB eradication programme.

“Cymorth TB has provided an opportunity to further help our farm clients when their herds suffer TB breakdowns,” he said. “I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet the minister and talk to him about my experience during the pilot.

The Cymorth TB pilot is taking place in Anglesey, Wrexham, the Intensive Action Area (IAA), East Carmarthenshire, The Gower and East Monmouthshire.

Reports from Cardiff University and AHVLA evaluating the original pilot and highlighting lessons learned will be presented in June at the IVth International Mycobacterium Bovis conference which will be held in Cardiff next month.

The Cymorth TB veterinary visits will continue until then when an announcement about the longer term future of the scheme will be made.

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