Rules which force the on-farm slaughter of some animals who test positive for bovine TB have been described as “disgraceful’’ by a Carmarthenshire dairy farmer after 27 of his animals were shot on the farmyard.

Wyn Davies and his wife Enid were in tears when, one by one, cows and heifers they had bred from calves were culled, and also youngstock, including their daughter, Sioned’s, ‘pet’ calf.

“I don’t know how I am going to tell her tonight’’ Enid told S4C’s long running series Ffermio in a powerful programme highlighting the horrific toll of the impact of how bovine TB is managed in Wales.

The Davieses and their family farm at Castell Howell, Capel Isaac, where they milk 120 cows and have been under TB restrictions since the summer of 2020. Since then, they have lost more than 180 cattle.

Animals had previously been taken off the farm for slaughter but Welsh government rules dictated that the 27 who had positive results after this latest set of gamma blood tests would need to be culled on the Davieses' farm.

“On-farm slaughter is unavoidable if animals are either not able to be transported to slaughter for welfare reasons, or for food safety reasons as they are not fit for human consumption,’’ a government spokesperson had said.

“This includes where cattle are within medicine withdrawal periods. The aim is always to ensure welfare at slaughter arrangements and health and safety are fully satisfied.’’

The Davieses said the reason they had been given for the need for an on-farm cull was that the animals had recently been dosed with a wormer.

Wyn and Enid issued a plea to the government to reconsider these rules, and also to re-think their policies surrounding the control of the disease in wildlife.

All their animals, apart from a bull they use for breeding, had been bred on the farm until their first case of TB in 2020; they say all the evidence points to the disease being transmitted to their animals by badgers.

Wyn said it had “clearly’’ come from the wildlife. “There can be no other explanation. People have seen badgers out in daylight. That isn’t right is it? It shows they are sick.’’

At the recent NFU Cymru Pembrokeshire County Conference, the chief veterinary officer for Wales, Dr Richard Irvine, said the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government forbids the culling of badgers to control the spread of TB in cattle. It instead focusses disease control towards herd biosecurity and the vaccination of badgers.

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Levels of bovine TB in High TB Area West, which includes Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and parts of Ceredigion, had reduced since 2019, said Dr Irvine, but in parts of Pembrokeshire the disease situation had deteriorated.

Meanwhile, at Castell Howell farm, three years of TB restrictions and the cull of so many animals have left the Davieses questioning if they can continue farming.