The Welsh Government has decided to publish potentially sensitive data about cattle herds infected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

Name and shame: Welsh breakdown data to go online.

Earlier this year, a consultation was held on a proposal to change legislation to enable the government to put information on bovine herds affected with bTB online.

New powers

After considering the responses, the government will change legislation to introduce the new power.

Deputy minister for farming and food Rebecca Evans, said: “I intend to use this power to provide individuals with information on bovine herds affected with TB. This will enable them to take appropriate precautions to protect their herds from the spread of the disease. It will also raise awareness of the risk of purchasing animals with hidden infection.

“It is important Wales achieves and maintains the highest standards of animal health and welfare to improve farm incomes and realise our potential in the market place. I have taken this decision to support individual farm businesses and help them to minimise the risk of TB affecting their business.

“Raising standards of animal health and welfare is key to a profitable farm business and one of the primary aims of the TB Eradication Programme is to prevent the disease spreading to TB-free farms.

“While there has been an improvement in the disease situation over the past five years, TB continues to provide significant socio-economic costs to farmers, the wider farming industry and to keepers of other animals such as camelids. The majority of the respondents agreed with the proposal to change the legislation.”

Legally compatibile

The minister explained in her statement the power is still compatible with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. It was decided publishing the data online was the “most useful” avenue, with a further statement expected to be made in November.

The summary of responses to the consultation on sharing the location of TB-infected farms has been published on the Welsh Government website.

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