The Welsh TB eradication programme received a welcome boost asthe European Commission Standing Committee responsible for animal health recommended approval of the UK Bovine TB Eradication Programmetogether with 10million for implementation.

The European Commission requires any Member State with a TB problem to prepare a plan outlining their policies for bovine TB Eradication. The UK Bovine TB Eradication Plan for 2010 was submitted in September and sets out the current programme for the eradication of TB in cattle in the UK.

The plan outlines the different policies adopted by England, Wales and Northern Ireland to TB Eradication, as well as the areas of joint activity. The Wales Bovine TB Eradication programme, which was established in 2007 and is one of the key One Wales objectives, forms the basis of the Welsh component of the plan and sets out the measures being taken forward to eradicate Bovine TB in Wales.

Scotland is not included in the plan, since it has been awarded the status by the European Commission as an Officially Tuberculosis Free region.

Elin Jones, the Minister for Rural Affairs welcomed the prospect of further funding and the recognition by Europe of Wales’ commitment to eradicating bovine TB.

She said: “Bovine TB is a debilitating, infectious disease that is threatening the dairy and beef industry in Wales. Last year over 12,000 cattle were slaughtered because of the disease, and the number is likely to be even greater this year.”

“We are pleased that the European Commission has recognised the commitment shown by Wales and other administrations to eradicating this disease, which can have an impact on human health as well as that of cattle, badgers and other animals. We will now be holding discussions with the UK Government to see how Wales will benefit from this money.”

The UK Eradication Plan was agreed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) today. It will now go forward to the European Commission for formal approval later this year. The EU funding can be used to contribute to the costs of TB testing and compensation for cattle slaughtered.

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