A PROJECT to tackle cases of bovine TB in Pembrokeshire has begun in a bid to help to reduce the number of cases in Wales.

The Welsh Government issued a Wales-wide update earlier this month on the level of bovine TB cases in Wales, with new incidents decreasing by more than 18 per cent in the 12 months to June this year, compared with the same period five years ago.

The number of animals killed for TB control has also decreased by almost five per cent.

Pembrokeshire and Anglesey have been running specific projects which were also highlighted by the Welsh Government for their approach in decreasing the TB cases in hotspot areas.

The Pembrokeshire TB project is actively engaging with 15 farms that were chosen by the six vet practices involved. It has recently begun and is hoped to reduce cases of the disease.

The project involves a pilot of novel approaches that go over and above the statutory measures that are currently available, focusing on farmers and their vets working together to develop tailored, herd-level measures, including heightened biosecurity and ways of managing high-risk animals.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government’s rural affairs minister, said: “Whilst the picture of bovine TB is ever changing, I would like to emphasise the important, long-term trends show fewer affected herds and new herd incidents across Wales as a whole.

“As I emphasised in March, the delivery plan is centred on partnership working. TB will not and cannot be eradicated by government acting alone.

“Just as no two farms are the same, no two TB breakdowns are identical, and we do see variations in TB levels in different parts of Wales. Therefore, farmers working closely with their vet is crucial to both protect herds and keep TB out, as well as tackling the disease if it does occur.

“The Pembrokeshire Project is an excellent example of a collaborative, industry-led initiative – exploring new ways for vets and farmers to make informed decisions on disease prevention and control at a herd level.

“I am also acutely aware of the impact of bovine TB on health and wellbeing of farmers and livelihoods. The mental health and wellbeing of those involved in the agricultural industry is of great concern to me.

“That is why we are determined to eradicate bovine TB. We can only do this by working together.

“I call upon the farming industry and veterinary profession to unite with government and delivery partners to make further strides towards our shared goal of a TB free Wales by 2041. It is an ambitious target, but an achievable one if we have the support, buy in and cooperation of everyone involved.”

A number of changes are set to come into place as part of the five-year delivery plan which include the reintroduction of pre-movement testing for cattle movements within, and from the low TB area which will start in 2024. The requirement for post-movement testing in the intermediate TB areas will be extended and permit the display of TB free herd information on ibTB helping farmers to make informed purchasing decisions.

The minister also confirmed that the on-farm slaughter policy would be looked at, particularly for heavily pregnant animals, as a matter of urgency by the technical advisory group.