VETS and farmers are set to given more power to tackle “deep-seated levels” of bovine TB infection in parts of Pembrokeshire.

The Welsh Government’s rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths has today announced that project to combat the disease is moving forwards.

The Pembrokeshire Project is part of the five-year bovine TB Delivery Plan which was published by the Welsh Government earlier this year.

The project will work towards tackling levels of bovine TB in parts of Pembrokeshire, where TB incidence and prevalence has worsened against the overall improving national backdrop.

It also aims to promote collaboration between vets and farmers and empowers them to take the lead and make informed local decisions in disease control.

Chief veterinary officer, Dr Richard Irvine, said: “The project will work with a small sample of farms in Pembrokeshire, with the purpose of empowering vets and farmers to make informed decisions and show leadership in disease control.

“It will develop and implement additional approaches to bovine TB control, over and above the statutory measures currently used in the area.

“The project will focus on identifying residual disease risk in clear testing cattle and develop a pathway for reducing cattle-to-cattle transmission. This will include identification and management of high-risk animals to slaughter and veterinary oversight of biosecurity practices.”

A project group led by Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd has been awarded the contract. Further details about the project are to be announced.

Ms Griffiths made the announcement ahead of this week’s Pembrokeshire Show.

“We are very aware of the challenge of TB in cattle, and the distress it causes for farmers,” she said.

“This is why we are determined to eradicate bovine TB in Wales as set out in our delivery plan, published earlier this year.

“We have made steady progress since 2009, with fewer affected herds and new incidents, but we know there have been challenging levels of infection in Pembrokeshire.

“I have always said we cannot do this alone, and partnership working with our farmers and vets is crucial to reach our shared goal of a TB-free Wales.

“I look forward to seeing the results of the project and am hopeful it will have a positive impact here and lessons can be learned for the rest of Wales.”